Light trap reduces chemical spraying

AN ULTRAVIOLET (UV) ray-emitting trap for pests has cut the need

for expensive, environmentally harmful chemical spraying among farmers in the Ilocos Region, the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) said in a recent statement.

“This is very cost-effective, and it’s good for the environment because it doesn’t dispose of any harmful residue,” the statement quoted Aida D. Solsoloy, a scientist of the Department of Agriculture’s Ilocos Region Integrated Agricultural Research Center (RIARC), as saying.

“Before, farmers thought this light trap is only for monitoring pests. But now they’re finding it effective for pest control.”
Besides being cited as a major cause of farmers’ illnesses, chemical sprays are also blamed for resurgence of pests which develop resistance or due to the eradication of their natural predators.

The light trap has been successful in raising yield in rice, corn, tomato, eggplant, watermelon, bell pepper, onion, pole sitao, ampalaya and garlic, BAR said, citing findings of its study.

Farmers’ inability to carry out Insect Pest Management has been one of the reasons for low productivity in small farms.
“We have to keep on finding means to help farmers adopt a pest management system that they will find easy to implement and one that’s economically viable,” said BAR Director Nicomedes P. Eleazar in the same statement.
“This will increase their yield and raise their farms’ global competitiveness.”
Benefits

Just like popular household insect-killing lamps, the light trap also has an electric wire that kills insects as they hit it.
Despite killing insect pests, the Ilocos RIARC observed that the lamp does not attract their predators.
RIARC’s Ms. Solsoloy noted that the light trap used in areas growing rice, corn and vegetables “indicated extensive insect pest collection and a marked reduction in frequency of chemical spraying by 35%-100%.”

While the device is presently imported from China, it is possible to fabricate or assemble it locally, the BAR said. The casing had once been fabricated locally under Ilocos RIARC’s supervision, while the bulb, which is patented for its lighting technology, was imported from China.

While there are fears of UV light’s harm to users themselves, the light trap’s use only at night time should help minimize such risk, the BAR said in its statement.

To help farmers acquire the device, which retails for about P9,500, the Agriculture department is considering providing farmers a loan or subsidy program for the trap, the BAR added.

This may not be affordable for an individual farmer who may have just 5,000 square meters to tend, hence, the program may be offered to farmers’ cooperatives.

The study funded by BAR from 2008 to 2010 involved 13 sites in Ilocos Norte; nine in Ilocos Sur; four in La Union, and five sites in Pangasinan.

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