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Trap Belts For Pests On Trees

, Admin

Trapper belts are considered one of the most reliable means of so-called biomechanical plant protection. They are used for orchard trees and shrubs, mainly for fruit plants. But despite its status as a simple and plant-friendly pest control tool, trap belts should be used very carefully. Like any other method of prevention and protection, they have their advantages and disadvantages. And you mustn't forget about the latter in any case.

Trap belts for pests on trees
Catcher belt. © Jack of All Trees

Pest trap

Chemical methods of pest and disease control for purely decorative and fruit trees have become today almost an absolute standard of growing plants in your own garden. The use of even the mildest insecticide and fungicide chemicals is invariably associated not only with environmental considerations, but also with the risk of soil contamination and increased toxicity of the fruit. In contrast to chemical means, biological and mechanical methods of plant protection are much easier tolerated by the plants themselves and do not cause such harm to the environment. But we should not consider them absolutely safe and harmless. As with any measure aimed primarily at protecting plants from pests and various garden infections, their impact is largely traumatic and quite "hard".

The use of decoctions and infusions of plants, microbiological preparations and other products belong to popular biological measures. Along with them, environmentally safe means of protection include trapping belts - devices for collecting and destroying pests in the form of tape that is fixed on the trunks of trees, creating a kind of belt. It acts as a trap set to prevent fruit pests from climbing up the trunk and laying eggs on tree branches.

Catching belts are designed to combat such insects that cause much harm to the most beloved fruit trees (plums, peaches, apples, pears, etc.) as leafminers and fruit moths. These insect pests reproduce very actively, their caterpillars cause significant damage not only to the yield, but also to the tree itself, damaging the ovaries, leaves, branches, bark and even the trunk of the majestic woody plants. The most common apple, pear, plum, fruit and Oriental caterpillars are as dangerous as less common species.

The highest activity of these pests is typical for the period of fruit formation, ripening and harvesting. Caterpillars pose a danger actually during the whole summer and autumn. As a result of damage by such pests, you can lose about half of the crop. And if not combated, the situation will worsen exponentially.

Trap belts for pests on trees
Catch Belt. © Tasnim Shamma

Types of trap belts

The trap belts play a role as both a preventive and protective measure for plants. In fact, the technology of their production and application has not changed for hundreds of years. Trap belts can be treated with special insecticides or act purely "mechanically".

The impregnation divides them into several types:

  • dry trap belts, which are actually a cloth or burlap trap;
  • insecticide-treated trap belts, which cause insects to die by contact with a special agent;
  • sticky trap belts treated with a special adhesive, viscous mass and fixed on trees, which act on the principle of a conventional fly or aphid trap.

Since the process of manufacturing of trap belts is quite complicated and time-consuming, the simplest option is to buy ready-made "funnels" - devices in the form of a wide band about 15-20 cm wide with a sticky or not sticky surface, consisting of several layers of paper, various tissues and most often also impregnating material (insecticide or sticky substance), which are designed to collect and destroy insects. This tape is put on tree trunks in rings and tied to them very tightly. In addition to the classic trapping belts, there is also their substitute - glue, which is simply applied to the bark in the desired area.

How to make trap belts with your own hands?

Some master gardeners prefer to make trap belts themselves. They can be created on the basis of compacted cardboard, burlap or fabric, thin foam rubber, cut in strips about 20 cm wide and with the length necessary to girdle the trunk. The fabric or its analogue is folded in several layers and smeared with tar or tar, covered with polyethylene or folded in several layers with folds in which the caterpillars can get stuck. A certain negative effect on the plants themselves and the garden in general is also typical for such a simple device as a trap belt.

Trap belts are used for protection against insect pests, but they are not designed for a certain narrow circle of insects. Sticky and conventional trap belts stop pests and garden insects that try to climb up the trunk to the same extent. In fact, in addition to stopping the spread of caterpillars, weevils and fruit eaters, they also reduce the garden population of beneficial insects, thereby depriving you of a reliable environmental remedy. This is the greatest disadvantage of trap belts and that's why they should only be worn as a last resort.

Catch belts should only be used if really necessary. And this should be done wisely. Trap belts must be attached to the bark of the tree very securely, leaving no space under them, because insects can crawl under the sticky tape and not get to the protective layer. You don't want to go overboard with the area of the sticky coating. Even a minimal catching belt serves its functions, and it is not necessary to create double or triple zones with sticky tape, wrap it around the whole trunk from bottom to top.

Trapping belts have one more essential disadvantage - labour-intensive. They are used in small orchards, and even then they require a lot of time and efforts. © NewEnglandgardening

How to use trap belts?

The use of trap belts has its own features:

  1. They are put on tree trunks at the height about 1-1.5 m.
  2. It is better to bind dry trap belts not earlier than 2 weeks after flowering, but sticky and dressed - before bud blossoming.
  3. Before a trap belt is put on, the trunk must be cleaned of peeling old bark, moss and other impurities by cleaning both the trunk itself and the lower skeletal shoots.
  4. The trap belts should be inspected about once a week by cleaning or replacing them.
  5. One belt may be used no more than 2 times, and it must be disinfected before the next use.