Protecting crops from pests is an age-old and ongoing battle. Historically, several approaches have been used. The most straightforward approach is to install a barrier that keeps the pests out, and in the case of insects, insect netting is a common approach.
What You Need to Know About Insect Netting
Acadian has received multiple information requests over the last few weeks for insect netting. Interestingly, these requests have centered around insect netting having a particular weight, i.e. grams per square meter. This is a curious request because while the weight is one aspect of the netting, it is by far not the most important characteristic.
Since the primary purpose of insect netting in regards to pest control is to exclude these pests, the most important characteristic to consider is the opening size of the pores or holes of the netting. While the weight of the insect netting is important to longevity, handling, and mounting, it’s more important to understand if the size of the openings in the netting is small enough to exclude whatever pests you’re trying to prevent.
How to Select the Right Insect Netting for Your Needs
For example, let’s say you need netting to exclude SWD, a small fruit fly, which requires very small openings. Several references refer to using insect netting with openings of 1mm x 1mm, 1mm x .6mm, or even as small as .5mm x .8mm for this application. Whatever opening size you determine is needed, that should be your first criteria in selecting insect netting.
If the netting options are all the same material (HDPE is the standard for professional growers), and the opening sizes are similar, then the weight per unit area will indicate how durable and likely how easily handled the material will be. Very light insect netting – 60 grams per square meter (GSM) or 1.77 oz/square yard – will generally not last as long or be as strong over time compared to a heavier material such as a 135 GSM (4 oz/SY). Remember that UV degrades netting by oxidizing the yarns of the material. The thicker the yarns, the heavier they are, and the more material there is to be lost to oxidation before the yarns break and the material loses its effectiveness.
Another important characteristic to consider is airflow through the insect netting. In particular, if the application is on a greenhouse, the amount of airflow through the fabric is important to blower/fan stress. As fans attempt to move air through an enclosure, the harder they have to work due to airflow resistance and the sooner the motors will burn out under the load. Acadian has airflow curves based on pressure differentials that allow the proper engineering to be done when it comes to calculating airflow through Acadian’s insect netting and the greenhouse it is installed on.
So, in summary, while you may be able to buy insect netting of a certain weight that works for your application, don’t forget to first understand if it has the correct opening/pore sizes to block the pests you want and verify that it offers the airflow you need.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.