Online app helps track, manage insect populations

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An upgraded online application designed and developed by Purdue Research Park-based companies can 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.

The enhanced MyTraps.com 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. The information can then be exported into an Excel document to help growers and pesticide consultants review and update data as often as necessary.

Spensa Technologies Inc. developed and launched MyTraps.com this year, and Allegro Dynamics LLC developed the software for the program. Both companies are based in the Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette.

"Having definitive data that identifies the location and numbers of insects in a given field will help growers target the use of insecticides to areas where there are concentrated insect populations," said Johnny Park, president and CEO of Spensa and a Purdue research assistant professor in electrical and computer engineering. "Reducing insecticide use not only reduces the cost to the growers, it reduces the amount of chemicals that are released in the environment."

Insect management programs are a fundamental aspect of the agricultural business, Park said. In the United States in 2010, crop growers lost $20 billion to insect damage and spent $4.5 billion on insecticides. MyTraps.com can be used with any type of crop including corn, green beans, soybeans, apples, oranges, pears and grapes.

"As an online subscription service, MyTraps.com maintains insect data in a fast, efficient manner that not only shows the current insect population, but also historical data that can help growers anticipate future growing seasons," 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."

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

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, which was developed by Park at Purdue University, 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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