New online app tracks, manages insect data in crop fields

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A new online application developed and launched by Spensa Technologies Inc. will help growers and pesticide consultants electronically track the number of insects in their crop fields so they can better control crop damage caused by insects and improve the use of insecticides.

MyTraps.com, launched in March 2012, enables growers and consultants to electronically manage insect data and pesticide records on a secure website by entering the data into the site through a Web browser or smart phone.

"In the U.S. in 2010, crop growers lost $20 billion to insect damage and spent $4.5 billion on insecticides," said Johnny Park, president and CEO of Spensa and a Purdue research assistant professor in electrical and computer engineering. "Insect population data is fundamental to any pest management program. Most of the time, data is collected on sheets of paper by walking around the fields and checking insect traps. MyTraps.com provides tools to make the insect data collection easier and to make better pest management decisions."

The program is available as an online subscription service.

"Once someone has subscribed to MyTraps.com, they can input the insect data and the online software program will create insect population line graphs so growers or consultants can target their insecticide use where needed and reduce usage in areas where the insect populations are not as high," Park said. "Another important feature is that the program provides aerial field images taken from satellite cameras and places the insect data over the image of the fields so growers can see the insect population data on photographs of the fields."

click image to zoomThe online application Mytrap.com shows the insect data collected in agricultural fields and an aerial map of the fields so growers and pesticide consultants can electronically manage insect numbers and better control crop damage due to insects. (Purdue Research Park image) The online application Mytrap.com shows the insect data collected in agricultural fields and an aerial map of the fields so growers and pesticide consultants can electronically manage insect numbers and better control crop damage due to insects. (Purdue Research Park image)

The online application can be used to collect insect data affecting any type of crops including corn, green beans, soybeans, apples, oranges, pears and grapes. It also will store data over time so growers can identify insect trends and access their pesticide data online and analyze past data while planning for future crops.

"The website tracks and manages insect populations in fields," said Ben Brame, president of Allegro Dynamics LLC, a software design company that is partnering with Spensa in the creation of MyTraps.com. "We display the insect populations on an aerial map as a visual aid to document insect increases and decreases in crop fields. Over time, growers will be able to track this information annually so they will have years of data available to them."

For more information, visit Spensa Technologies at http://www.spensatech.com/

Spensa Technologies and Allegro Dynamics are companies based in the Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette.

Spensa also is commercializing the Z-Trap, which automatically detects the number of target insects captured by the trap and sends the data wirelessly to the grower's mobile phone or computer. The technology is being used to collect data on codling moths, Oriental fruit moths and leaf rollers in apple orchards, but will eventually be used to collect insect data from other types of crops.

Park said that Spensa is in pre-production of 75 Z-Traps and will carry out large-scale field experiments and evaluations during the 2012 growing season with an expected launch of the Z-Trap in 2013.


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