A new agricultural electronic insect trapping device has the potential to automatically monitor insect pest populations and reduce the amount of insecticides emitted into the environment.
The Z-Trap is an insect trapping device that automatically detects the number of target insects captured by the trap and sends the data wirelessly to a grower’s mobile phone or computer. The Z-Trap is a Purdue University discovery being commercialized in the Purdue Research Park by Spensa Technologies Inc.
“Tracking insect populations is a fundamental part of any pest management program and being able to track those numbers in real time electronically through a smart phone or a computer helps growers choose how to use insecticides more judiciously,” said Johnny Park, president and CEO of Spensa and a Purdue research assistant professor in electrical and computer engineering. “This device enables growers to electronically monitor insect populations, reduces the amount of chemicals emitted in agricultural fields, lowers labor costs, and reduces the amount of insecticides purchased by growers.”
In the U.S. in 2010, crop growers lost $20 billion to insect damage and spent $4.5 billion on insecticides, according to Park. “Currently the technology is being used to collect data on codling moth, Oriental fruit moth, and leaf rollers in apple orchards,” said Tom Puterbaugh, Spensa Technologies vice president of products. “But Z-Trap will eventually be used to collect insect data from other types of crops including almond, walnut, orange, pear, grape, cherry, vegetables, corn, and many other stored products.”
Z-Trap is being commercialized through the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization. It can be used in conjunction with MyTraps.com, an online app that helps growers and pesticide consultants track the number of insects for any agricultural crops. The technology is available as an online subscription service.
“Z-Trap is a hardware that collects insect data, and MyTraps.com is a software that presents the data to growers and consultants so they can make insightful decisions about insect control,” Park said.
Spensa Technologies is a startup housed in the Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette, IN. The company was founded in 2009 by Johnny Park, president and CEO. Spensa’s mission is to design, develop, and deliver novel technologies for the agricultural industry that will reduce reliance on manual labor, foster eco-friendly farming, and enhance crop production efficiency. Their technologies leverage the team’s expertise in wireless sensor networks, robotics, and computer vision.