When you are installing Insect Light Traps (ILTs) as a part of a fly control program, where you install the unit has a great impact on its efficiency. You have to think about the unit’s attractiveness, maintenance, and how it impacts the environment in which it is installed. You must account for all those considerations when engineering your program or you will put your client at risk for a failure of your program, audits and health department reviews.

PROPER POSITIONING. Where you position the ILTs can make or break a program. Try to position your ILTs between any entry points and the area you are trying to protect. Utilize chokepoints in the location’s construction to help increase the efficiency of any installed units. A critical area that should have an ILT in a restaurant is the path from the dumpster to the food preparation area. This will provide you with a layer of protection to prevent the flying insects from impacting those critical areas. Do not place the ILTs right next to or inside the area that you are trying to protect. House flies, for instance, start to respond to UV light from ILTs from about 20-25 feet, but respond best within 12 feet. This will draw flying insects to that area and potentially impact your client.

You also have to worry about attracting flying insects to these locations. If you have the UV light facing a window or door, you could exacerbate the situation by unintentionally pulling the insects into the location. It is best to have the unit’s UV light hitting a perpendicular wall to gain maximum efficiency, while not attracting additional flying insects. And, make sure the light isn’t in direct sunlight — sunlight will drown out the UV from your ILT, making it ineffective in protecting your client.

There are regulations and common sense rules that must be considered when installing an ILT. No ILT should be used directly above food or food preparation areas. Many health departments and auditing agencies have rules that ILTs must be installed 5-10 feet from any food preparation area. Electrocution units should not be used in areas where food is exposed since there is a possibility that insect particulates may contaminate the exposed food. Glueboard units should not be used in areas of high heat, or the glue may melt and contaminate the area and make the unit extremely sticky. Do not use ILTs in areas that have a high potential for water to get on them, unless you are using a waterproof unit. Areas that have high air movement can impact the effectiveness of a unit. They may push the flying insects past the ILT without the unit even having a chance of working. Additionally, in many cases it is actually against regulations to run an extension cord to an Insect Light Trap. If the cord is not long enough, consider having a longer cord installed on the unit or having the client add an additional outlet to a more ideal location.

SERVICING CONSIDERATIONS. Think about how the units are going to be serviced. Regardless of frequency, your ILTs must be serviced on a regular basis to maintain their effectiveness. The units must be easily accessible, have limited impact on the customer, and still maintain their efficiency. If the customer’s activity is going to impact your access to the ILT, then consider a different location to install the unit. Don’t install ILTs in locations where damage is likely to occur, like in a narrow hallway where deliveries are constantly taking place. If you choose a location that is likely to be blocked or damaged by customer activity, you will not be providing the level of protection that was originally intended when the program was designed.

Finally, how high the units are installed can impact an ILT’s efficiency as well. Units placed between 2 and 5 feet are significantly more effective than ones placed higher for flies. Night-flying insects prefer higher heights, but will still respond to ILTs installed lower. If ILTs are installed below 5 feet, a ladder is most likely not needed for installation, making the service much easier and faster to accomplish. In many cases, you will run into locations that have ILTs that are hung from the ceiling or very high up on the wall. This is usually due to equipment that must pass through an area and will either create a hazardous environment or will continually damage the unit. We must compromise in those situations to provide some level of protection to your client, or risk not having any level of protection and higher risk of flying insects.

GETTING CLIENTS TO “BUY IN.” Choosing where to place Insect Light Traps can be tricky. In many cases, we are working around existing structures and equipment with little cooperation from the client. Gaining their understanding of why you need to place an ILT in a certain location can be difficult, but it’s worth your time. Knowing the proper placement of the ILTs in a program is more important than having a larger number of units in many cases. Just remember that our job is to protect the client, and improperly placed ILTs do not aid in that goal.

David Moore is a board certified entomologist who received his master’s degree in entomology from Virginia Tech. He serves as the manager of technical services for Dodson Bros. Exterminating.

Copesan is an alliance of pest management companies with locations throughout North America. To learn more, visit www.copesan.com.