The new trends in Pest Management

“Today a fumigator should be a tech-geek! Technology is our new major weapon. We have eyes inside chambers and silos. We receive real-time information on our smartphone. We can predict and respond with a touch of a button or a tap on screen. There are no more excuses for failures. Precise hits, lower residues, constant evolution and improvement. These are the aspects of modern pest management and the tools are out there. Ignore them at your peril!”Vasilis-Sotiroudas

Vasilis SOTIROUDAS
AgroSpeCom-Control Union Greece
v.sotiroudas@agrospecom.gr

We are in the age of Precision Pest Management. The old-style treatments of “spray and pray” are not acceptable any more. They were never useful anyway. They brought us insect resistance and health hazards.
In the 70’s the fumigators were wizards with secret knowledge!

In the 90’s the fumigators were scientists who respected protocols and paid attention to detail.

Today a fumigator should be a tech-geek! Technology is our new major weapon. We have eyes inside chambers and silos. We receive real-time information on our smartphone. We can predict and respond with a touch of a button or a tap on screen. There are no more excuses for failures.

USING ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY
New technologies are already part of pest management. Here are a few examples of commercially deployed solutions:

Rodent sensors: A trigger is pulled when a snap trap is closed or when a rodent enters a station. A text message or email is sent to selected user. Instead of running routine inspection rounds, the user can now go to a specific trap when informed. The corrective action can be fast and precise. Products commercially available can be found through Arctic-systems.com or IPM-Square.

Insect sensors: Entering a silo to inspect for infestation is not easy and can be dangerous. Inspecting insect traps in a warehouse may not be dangerous but is time-consuming and has to be made on specific intervals. The information on catches is not in real-time but depends on when the next agreed visit is scheduled. The new traps do not require round visits. They make a self-check daily or twice per day, they count the insects and even recognize the species. Then they send this info to the user’s smartphone helping taking treatment decisions. OpiSystems.com is offering a commercial solution.

Wireless gas sensors: They can be placed inside silos, chambers, containers, ships railcars and warehouses. They measure fumigant concentration, temperature and the relative humidity evaluating in real time if a fumigation will succeed or fail. These wireless sensor and data analytics tools offered by Centaur Analytics Inc. (centaur.ag) make monitoring easier and help Pest Control teams do their work more reliably and profitably.

Resistant or not?
Insects develop defenses to survive. Detia Degesh designed a kit that the fumigator can take on site and perform a quick test to determine insect tolerance to phosphine. If the insects are found to be tolerant, then a stricter fumigation protocol shall be used.

A platform to monitor all your fumigations: You have a phosphine fumigation running in your gas chamber and in the weekend you plan a heat treatment in a flour mill. You even think of starting a low oxygen treatment in one of your customers or even a CO2 treatment on organic products. All these treatments and more can now be monitored through your phone. Centaur Analytics has designed a cognitive cloud software platform that 1) predicts how a fumigation will develop, 2) monitors treatment in real-time, and 3) helps users with corrective actions to make every treatment successful.

Using insects to fight insects: Biological control of infestations is a growing market. Parasitoids can target the infesting species and significantly lower the population.

Sensing the health of stored grain: Inspecting a silo is not easy. Entering the top side is dangerous and even prohibited in some parts of the world. Until recently the only system available to monitor what is happening in a silo was temperature sensing through cables. A system that often went blind damaged by rodents or corroded by phosphine. Now a new system is available by Centaur Analytics, which monitors various parameters and uses a clever algorithm based on computational fluid dynamics to simulate what is happening in a silo. Parameters like O2, CO2, PH3, temperature, humidity, moisture are monitored to evaluate spoilage, visible mold, production of aflatoxin, dry matter loss and germination.

Mating disruption: Insects find each other using pheromones. Through the mating disruption solution, we introduce large quantities of pheromone in the applied rooms. This way the insects smell too much pheromone around and cannot find each other, thus disrupting the mating process and lowering the number of fertile eggs on the females. The insect populations drop. A solution is commercially available for Plodia interpunctella moth (Allure MD).
Calling for precision
We need dosages high enough to kill all insect stages but not leaving residues. Monitoring shall be available in various points during a treatment.

Machine learning
Designing a clever algorithm is not enough. It must have the ability to follow the treatments and auto-learn through each monitoring.

Environment-friendly
The industry measures its environmental footprint. For pest management we need to focus on methods that are modern and guarantee sustainability. Metrics to evaluate the environmental output, shall be used.

Each serious solution shall have the following 3 abilities:
1. Ability to predict: combine user input, weather forecast, method model, gathered data etc to produce a validated prediction.
2. Ability to monitor in real time: report during a treatment on selected frequency from various points.
3. Ability to produce Analytics: trends and metrics do not only produce statistical curves. They mainly drive the company and the industry towards important decisions.

Conclusions
Precise hits, lower residues, constant evolution and improvement. These are the aspects of modern pest management and the tools are out there. Ignore them at your peril!

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