Insect pests can be the biggest nightmare for farmers. Often by the time insects are noted and recognized they may well have compromised a proportion, or perhaps all of a crop.
A U.S.-based startup, Spensa Technologies, has just received two grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health to further develop the Z-Trap.
This machine is an insect trapping machine that traps and then identifies insects and sends the information wirelessly to a farmer’s mobile phone or computer.
The CEO of Spensa, Johnny Park, says the device is not only about identifying insect pests, but is also part of an ecological approach to managing them. He says, “The main goal is to reduce the amount of pesticide applications by providing precise information as to when, where and how much pesticide should be applied while keeping pest damage to a minimum.”
The Z-Trap already works, but the company is using the research money to make it more efficient. The grant money will be used to develop a new multi-sensor system to improve classification of multiple pest species.
In addition the company wants to make the Z-Traps more energy efficient. “Our goal is to operate Z-Traps for at least six months using a battery pack that is half the size of the one currently used.”