New online app tracks, manages insect data in crop fields
By Purdue University
Mar. 13. 2012 - West Lafayette, Indiana - 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."
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."
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.
Spensa Technologies is a startup housed in the Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette. 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 world-leading expertise in wireless sensor networks, robotics and computer vision.
Allegro Dynamics, LLC is a software design company specializing in Web and mobile technologies. Allegro works with entrepreneurs to turn their technology ideas into products. Allegro was founded in 2009 by Ben Brame, president, and Zach Mason, director of technology. Before coming to Purdue University for graduate school, Brame and Mason worked together at a software company building applications for the Web and for mobile devices. Allegro Dynamics focuses on those strengths to build innovative Web and mobile applications.
The Purdue Research Park has the largest university-affiliated business incubation complex in the country in four locations across Indiana. The parks are home to about 200 companies that employ 4,000 people and are located in West Lafayette, Merrillville, Indianapolis and New Albany.