Aroma Therapy

There are countless things I remember from my childhood. Some of my favorites had to do with my Granny. She had a vegetable garden that I helped tend. There was an indoor storm cellar/sewing room in her house. My siblings and I would fight each other to sleep there. It was slightly creepy, but that was the draw. She taught me how to make homemade hot chocolate, something I still do today.

But, the single most intriguing item related to my Granny was the smell of her Avon Skin So Soft oil. It wasn’t, still isn’t, a fragrance that I particularly care for, but the smell meant that a loved one was nearby.


Insects use scents to attract loved ones, too. Pheromones are used to help each other find food, shelter, and love. As the pest control professional, we use the insect pheromone scents against them. Insects will think a love partner is in the area, but really it’s a farce. Insects will follow the pheromone trail, unknowingly to be caught in that pest control device.

How many times have we humans been duped in that same way? Our young noses followed the perfume and cologne wafting through our junior high school hallway, only to find out we’ve been tricked. That first heartbreak will last a lifetime.


In one of my early blogs, I talked about how the spacing of pheromones matters. A grid like pattern will give the the most efficacy in the area. Insects, particularly male insects, use the “trick” smells to find females. This pheromone tactic will cut the reproduction cycle. When male insects aren’t available to mate, populations will decrease.

Correct placement of devices won’t completely eliminate a colony of insects, but it will lead you, the PCO, to their source. Insects follow the scent trail, and so should you.

Chess is a grid


I won’t say that pheromones are the be all-end all. They are designed to be a monitoring tool. If you don’t know the depth of an insect population, proper control measures can’t be achieved. Pheromones come in many styles: dome, triangle , or half-moon shaped. There are electronic device additions to pheromones that give alerts through some really cool technology. Last, but not least, a liquid pheromone product was new to the market in 2020.

Whatever brand or type of pheromone products are preferred , space them for efficacy, monitor them on a consistent basis, and use that information to better help your clients. Reach out to the product manufacturers for assistance. After all, they designed these products with the pest control professionals in mind. Aroma therapy IS their love child. CHECK MATE!

Published by Melisa Arnold, A.C.E.

My career in pest management began while working in a flour mill as the “in-house” technician in 2008. I am certified in multiple states. I began working full time as a fumigation-pest control tech in 2010. I achieved my Associate Certified Entomologist (ACE) in 2018. I have a Master Tech certification from Kansas State University/Kansas Pest Control Association. I hold a Bat Management certification from NWCOA. Every day, I realize how much I DON’T KNOW. My goal for this blog is to share my every day experiences from the field and to make us all think outside the box for solutions to make pest control make sense.

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