STS Trapping Protocols

The following are the trapping protocols all cooperators will follow in the 2010 trapping season. All traps in the STS Action and Monitoring Areas will be placed, inspected, and quality control checked using Trapper Gadgets or Garmin 60CSX GPS units.

Each agency will submit the following documents to the STS Project (attention QC Officer – USFS-FHP Asheville) by June 2 of the trapping season.

  1. A copy of your training manual that documents the procedures used to insure that project standards are met and protocols are followed.
  2. A copy of your work and safety plan that documents the procedures used to insure a safe work environment.
  3. A list of skills that are necessary for trappers to perform their work, a list of all your trappers, and certification that each trapper has demonstrated the skills necessary to perform their assigned work. Skills may include, but are not limited to, the following: using a compass, reading a map to locate trap sites, accurately reading and recording UTM coordinates, using GPS units, identification of the male gypsy moth, etc.
  4. A summary of the method you plan to use to verify moth identification and check moth capture values in the database against the moth capture values on trapper log sheets.

The cooperating agency is responsible for all areas of training. Assistance will be provided by FS-FHP upon request.  All training will include at least the following:

  • Safety is the number one priority!
  • Trapping protocols.
  • The life cycle of the gypsy moth emphasizing the window of moth flight for the appropriate area.
  • Proper storage, use, and disposal of traps, DDVP strips, and lures.

Plus disparlure is the synthetic sex attractant formulated to mimic the pheromone emitted by the female gypsy moth. Disparlure is loaded into controlled release dispensers called lures that are placed in traps to attract male gypsy moths. The lures are very sensitive to temperature and must be stored in a freezer until used. Once they are taken from the freezer, they are good for about 12 weeks at 85 degrees Fahrenheit. (When the temperature gets above 85 degrees, the number of weeks the lure is efficient begins to decrease.) It is important to keep the lures and baited traps as cool as possible once the lures are taken out of storage.
Vaportape II (DDVP strip) is an insecticidal strip for use as a toxicant in registered insect traps. If not handled correctly, it can be hazardous to humans and animals. The agency should CAUTION those handling the strips about wearing protective gloves, following the product label guidelines for use, storage, and disposal of insecticides strip, and avoiding breathing the fumes (such as carrying traps loaded with an unwrapped DDVP strip inside the vehicle while driving).

To ensure the project has sufficient quality data for decision-making, minimum standard protocols for trap arrays, trap types, data collection and management have been developed. Each cooperator agrees to meet the following minimum project criteria:

  • 95% of assigned traps will be deployed on the grid spacing as documented in the 2010 project structure maintained at the database. Final project structure will be available no later than March 1, 2010. The following is the grid spacing for the cooperating agencies in the 2010 trapping season: 



    Grid Spacing




    Grid Spacing

    Quad-based states:
    IA, IN, KY, MI, MN, OH, NC, VA,  WV



    County-based states:
    IL, WI


    9/sq mi



    4/sq mi













  • The correct trap type will be deployed.
  • 95% of the deployed traps will be placed within a given distance of the actual grid node (+30% of the inter-trap spacing).
  • Adjacent grid nodes will not be omitted or unaddressed unless absolutely necessary.
    The following is a list of standard reasons for omitting a trap site:

    L. Landowner denied access
    O. Obstacle prohibited access
    W. Inaccessible terrain (too wet)
    R. Inaccessible terrain (too rough, steep)
    V. Inaccessible terrain (vegetation too thick)
    S. Safety hazard
    H. No structure on which to hang trap

  • 10% of the trap sites will be QC checked for accuracy. The QC sites are selected to address concerns regarding a trapper's work and/or database reports. The following is a list of standard reasons for failing a trap site:

    A - the trap is not assembled correctly
    C - trap placed outside target circle
    D - directions to the site are incorrect or incomplete
    G - grid set at wrong spacing
    I - trap info not recorded correctly on trap
    M - Multiple traps set at one site
    R - record filled out, no trap set (bogus data)
    S - Trap set too low to ground
    T - delta trap set where milk carton indicated
    U - UTMs recorded incorrectly on data sheet
    W - Inspection incorrectly done
    X - Trapper did not remove trap from field

  • Agencies will follow the project's yearly timing protocols (trap placement {before moth flight begins} and removal {after moth flight ends}, data flow timing, etc).
  • Project data will be collected in a manner that increases the ease and efficiency of project level data management with the least number of errors.


  • The GPS units have a 20-digit message field for each waypoint or location. Cooperators will use these 20 digits to record the following information:

On Trap Placement: Quad Code; Trap ID; Trap Type; Omit Reason (same for all cooperators). A "B" should be used for when a trap was purposely not placed within the target area (bridge out, safety concerns, etc...). The use of this code should help cut down on the number of omits. If an agency wants their trappers to place "random" traps, the agency is responsible for working out the necessary entry codes with the database.

    1. On Trap Inspections: Quad Code; Trap ID; Trap Check; Trap Condition; and Moth Catch
    2. On Quality Control: Quad Code: Trap ID; Trap Check; Trap Condition; Moth Catch; Pass or Fail; Failure Reasons (same for all cooperators)
    3. The database that works with each cooperator will provide the attributes and protocols for entering these data.
  • At all trap site visits, if off road, hold unit stationary for 1 minute. This will allow the unit to average GPS signals. Then press "MARK" and enter data.
  • At all trap site visits, if on a road and using the extended antenna, be sure the vehicle is stationary for 1 minute. This will allow the unit to average GPS signals. Then press "MARK" and enter the data. This should not create delays if the trapper turns on the unit first, then goes to the trap and enters the data upon returning to the vehicle.
  • Mid-season trap checks are not mandatory. However, if mid-season trap checks or quality control site visits are recorded in the GPS unit and submitted to the database, moth captures MUST be reported incrementally. The database assumes that all recorded moth captures are incremental and sums these moth capture values for the season total. If GPS data records are only submitted to the database at trap placement and removal, the incremental moth capture since trap placement is the same as the season total (cumulative catch).
  • For each site, a paper record will be filled out as a back up to the GPS file, with the UTM coordinates and the same information as placement, inspection, and quality control visits.
  • The GPS units will be downloaded a minimum of once a week and clean files sent to the database within 36 hours of the downloading.
  • Trappers will not have access to the downloading software or cable.
  • The GPS unit libraries will be cleared after the units have been successfully downloaded.
  • Cooperators will assign and track each GPS unit and accessory package by trapper.
  • For more information on using the Garmin 60 CSX, refer to the user guide on the STS website.

Database Protocols
With the two exceptions noted below, database QC checks will be performed in the same manner as they were in previous years (see Data Validations):
1. A trap inspection that is recorded as more than 200m from the reported placement location will now be flagged as an error.  In years past it was only logged on a QC report, which will continue to be available.  Please make every effort to determine what caused the inconsistency in reported locations.
2. Target trap set and remove dates provided by the cooperators will no longer be used to evaluate proper phenological timing for trap deployment. Instead, gypsy moth phenology will be modeled (GMPHEN and BioSIM) annually to determine if traps were in place for the duration of moth flight. The model will be run using the weather data from the current trapping year only, rather than on the 30-year average weather data. Each trap's set and remove date will be compared to the model dates for that area. This report will be formatted as a series of maps that display concentrations of traps that were either set too late or removed too early according to the model.

Other notes:
Is it “Missing” or “Damaged”?  This is a common question in data entry and trap management.  The database considers a damaged trap to be one that is still intact enough to tell if there might have been any moths.  Maybe the count will be lower because of the damage, but you can still open it up and look inside.  A missing trap is one where you know you are at the correct location, but all you see is flagging or maybe nothing at all.  In some locations, bears consider gypsy moth traps their personal lunch boxes and will leave nothing but a few shreds of trap.  This is also a missing trap.

You are in no way penalized at the database for reporting a missing or damaged trap.  Please record the information accurately, as we use it to determine why moth captures might not be as expected.  If it is a midseason check, replace the missing or damaged trap with a new one and check it again at final inspection.
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