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Colour change protects bees …from sex traps


Media Release August 9, 2000

Colour change protects bees …from sex traps

Bees are great, they are beneficial, and it is not good for them to be caught in pest monitoring traps used in Integrated Fruit Production.

To protect the bees the pheromone traps have undergone a colour change. HortResearch insect science staff have worked out which colours bees are attracted to, and moth pheromone traps used in Integrated Fruit Production (that until now have been white), are to be replaced by coloured traps that do not appeal to bees.

Research in Auckland, Canterbury, Hawke's Bay, Nelson and Central Otago determined the impact of trap colour on the capture of target and non-target insects. Catches of native and introduced bees were much lower in red and green traps than in the yellow, blue and the standard white traps.

Max Suckling, manager of HortResearch's pipfruit sustainability group, is this week presenting a paper on the topic to the New Zealand Plant Protection Conference in Christchurch. Dr Suckling said, "The new traps are more bee friendly, they have almost no bee catch, yet they are just as efficient for catching the moth pests."

The researchers found that honeybees (Apis mellifera) and bumblebees (Bombus spp.) were mostly attracted to white and blue traps. Native bees (Lasioglossum spp. and Hylaeus spp.) were found in white traps, followed by yellow traps with a few caught in green traps.

Trap colour did not affect catch of the target species such as codling moth, and lightbrown apple moth.

As a result of this work replacement of the standard traps with coloured traps (red or green) is recommended to orchardists to reduce impacts on non-target species, particularly during flowering, when traps have sometimes not been used in order to reduce the risk of catching bees. A reduction in non-target species catch should reduce the need for the sticky base to be changed so often.

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For more information please contact: Dr Max Suckling, HortResearch, Canterbury Research Station, Tel: 03 325 6609. Fax: 03 325 6663. Mobile 025 284 583. Email: msuckling@hort.cri.nz or Liz Brook, Communications Manager, HortResearch, Tel: 06 351 7000 Ext 7749 Fax: 06 351 7038 Mobile: 025 505 912 A/h: 06 328 9836 Email: lbrook@hort.cri.nz

Liz Brook Communications Manager HortResearch Corporate Office Private Bag 11 030 Palmerston North New Zealand

Tel: +64 (6) 351 7000 Ext 7749 Fax: +64 (6) 351 7038 Mobile: 025 505 912


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