Flying Insect Control with ILTs

Insect Light Traps (ILTs) can help provide control of a number of flying insects and, according to FDA GMPs, UV light traps can be used in certain areas, as long as they are designed and placed to prevent further contamination from the tray that collects the insect remains. Whether you install the equipment yourself or work with a third-party pest management provider, the following expert tips provide recommendations for placement and use in food and beverage processing plants.

1. Three key steps for controlling flying insects in food processing are:

a. Assess the Pressure. Maximize ILT effectiveness by working with the custodial staff to analyze entry points and production flow and practices, including refuse disposal, to understand where and when the heaviest outside pressure presents itself. Schedule ongoing meetings with the staff to review control efforts and feedback.

b. Strategically Place ILTs. Best practices include placing ILTs two to five feet high on the inside walls next to exterior doorways or loading-dock doors, making sure that the ILTs are not positioned in a way that directly attracts flying insects from the outside. Place ILTs on the outside walls of production areas approximately five feet from doors. Don’t overlook areas where items are brought inside the facility—such as cafeterias, break rooms, and office areas.

c. Expand ILT Protection in Sensitive Areas. In sensitive areas, use ILTs that have covered glueboards to keep air currents from blowing captured insect parts into the air. Even though most glueboards are changed regularly, for added security, use units that have a screen or covering around the glueboard. If an insect needs to be identified, place clear plastic over the entire glueboard before relocating it to the service kit.(BASF Pest Control Solutions)

2. For best results, install ILTs:

a. near room entrances. This will maximize the chances that the trap will catch the insects as they enter a room.

b. near areas of highest insect population.

c. in areas where room temperatures average above 50° F. Most insects like to be in a warm ambient temperature. Installing the trap in a warm area will help maximize the insect catch. (Paraclipse, Inc.)

3. Do not install ILTs:

a. near competing light sources.

b. near water or other damp locations.

c. where traffic could damage the unit.

d. near excessive heat sources such as ovens or furnaces.  (Paraclipse, Inc.)

4. Test the electrical grid; just because the lamps are lit does not mean the grid is charged. To test, use a voltage meter to read both sides of the grid. (Insect-O-Cutor)

5. A trap’s ultraviolet light lures an insect to the fixture. Place traps so insects are not drawn across or near any open product, process, or related materials. Try to intercept insects between their entry point and your production area. Breaks in firewalls make for an excellent collection point. (Insect-O-Cutor)

6. The insect light trap industry is often plagued by exaggerated claims. 
For this reason, always ask for research behind any ILT claims. To promote professionalism, begin with investigating claims for square-foot coverage. Inspire all manufacturers toward a higher level of professionalism, a higher level of science that all can be proud of. Push for insect light traps, avoid gimmicks, and be professional. (David Gilbert, Gilbert Industries)

7. Food processing facilities use a wide variety of edible raw materials
, many of which could be the source of a pest introduction. It is critical to monitor and control flying insects in the areas used to receive and store these products. ILTs are perfect tools for this function and should be located in such a way as to effectively intercept insects before they enter the processing areas. (P+L Systems)

8. It is fairly well known that ILTs should be placed at a height that is within the normal flight range of most flying insects (five to six feet from the floor). But it is just as important to position the units in a place that is easily accessible for inspection and routine service of glueboards and bulbs. (P+L Systems)

9. One key function served by ILTs in a food processing facility is early detection of an infestation. 
As different insect species are attracted to different wavelengths of UV light, the most ideal bulbs are those that emit as wide a UV-wavelength band as possible to increase the chance of attracting the maximum spectrum of flying insect species. (P+L Systems)

10. Establish a regular cleaning and service program for ILTs, as a poorly maintained unit is not only less effective, but can be an indicator to health inspection officials that general cleaning standards are less than satisfactory. The frequency of service will be dictated by factors such as fly population pressure, heat, humidity, and other environmental factors; for example, higher frequency is needed in an area prone to airborne particulates. (J. T. Eaton)

11. Most UV light bulbs used in ILTs will only emit optimum UV light waves for up to 8,000 hours. To maximize the efficacy of these units, bulbs should be changed at least once per year, ideally in early spring to have optimum UV emission occurring during the peak fly breeding and activity season. (J. T. Eaton)

12. Not all ILT replacement boards are equal. Although you may think that “a glue board is just a glue board,” there are a number of factors that separate the quality products. Look for features such as ease of removing the release liner, UV-blocking additives in the adhesive, rigidity of the substrate, and consistent adhesive layer. Quality equals better performance for ILT replacement boards. (AP&G)

13. In its Pest Management Standards for Food Plants, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) recommends that ILTs be placed not less than two feet but no more than five feet above floor level unless targeting high-flying insects or other special circumstances. When targeting high-flying pests, or when attempting to monitor in areas where electrical power is difficult to access, the use of a small portable ILT is a good approach. (AP&G)

14. Change glue boards regularly. Many facilities make the mistake of waiting for glue boards to be full before changing them. The biggest problem with this practice is that the UV light common in ILTs degrades adhesives rather quickly. To prolong the adhesive’s life, high-quality ILT replacement boards include a UV blocking additive in their glue formulations. However, ILT glue boards should be checked regularly and replaced monthly. (AP&G)

Other References


The author is Editor of QA magazine. She can be reached at