For Insects, New Device is KISS of DeathBy
Creative ideas don't always pop up only during working hours, as James
Coppedge discovered in the spring of 1996. The
Agricultural Research Service
entomologist was blowing leaves in his yard in College Station, Texas, when he
had an idea: Why not turn the leaf blower into an insect collector?
The result, put in motion the following Monday at the ARS Areawide
Pest Management Research Unit at College Station, was the keep-it-simple
sampler (KISS). ARS agricultural engineer Kenneth R. Beerwinkle, also
at College Station, designed and assembled the portable insect sampler
from an engine-driven leaf blower.
The KISS simplifies a long, tedious job. Farmers and crop consultants spend
hours counting insects in cotton, soybeans, corn, and other row crops. Usually
they sample manually with nets or by looking at individual plants. Their goal:
getting a handle on the numbers of pest and beneficial insects present in their
The KISS generates 150-mph winds that blows insects off crops into a net
attached to the nozzle. ARS field tests showed "KISSing" is 10 times
more efficient than hand-collecting boll weevils in early-season cotton. Boll
weevils cause $300 million in cotton losses each year.
The researchers collected a wide variety of insects from different crops and
wild host plants. The KISS system has been used to collect pepper weevils from
pepper plants, corn rootworm adults from sorghum and soybeans, and cotton
fleahoppers from wild plants.
Most insects collected with the KISS are undamaged. The researchers believe
the KISS system could be used by home gardeners to collect beneficial insects
from wild host plants and transfer them to their gardens.
KISSing has boosted business for a College Station metal fabricating shop
owner. Richard Schiller makes the frames for do-it-yourselfers to build their
own KISS. All they add is a sweep net and the leaf blower. By last summer,
Schiller had 40 orders for the frames from Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi,
South Dakota and Texas. One order came in from Argentina.
Scientific contact: Kenneth R. Beerwinkle, ARS Areawide
Pest Management Research Unit, U.S. Department of Agriculture, College
Station, Texas, (409) 260-9519, e-mail email@example.com