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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Stoneville, Mississippi » Pollinator Health in Southern Crop Ecosystems Research » Research » Research Project #440620

Research Project: Wireless Monitoring System for Online Insect Tracking Data Analysis

Location: Pollinator Health in Southern Crop Ecosystems Research

Project Number: 6066-30500-001-011-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jul 1, 2021
End Date: Jun 30, 2025

Damages of crops caused by plant insect pests cause several millions of dollars loss to the growers. Management of these insects is difficult as the adults are highly migrant, and pesticides developed resistance. Many aspects of this generalist insect movement patterns among different crops are unknown. The accurate assessment of current populations is necessary to identify the need for control measures and the spread of the insect pests into new areas. However, current sensing technologies are not suitable for tracking insects. For example, current remote sensing techniques cannot provide sufficient resolution to identify the insects in the fields. Current tracking devices are too large to apply to insects. This proposal aims to develop an insect tracking system via the development of a small, lightweight sensor tag that can be attached to the insects to wirelessly track their location. Such tracking devices will help researchers obtain real-time information on the behavior of the insects at much greater accuracy and finer resolution than remote sensing. The concept of employing wireless sensors on insects is a comparatively unknown area, and that research proposed here can have vast applications in the future.

A small and lightweight wireless sensor tag will be attached to each insect, and a corresponding reader/monitoring station can detect the existence of the wireless tag. The reader will be connected to a Zigbee wireless networking node, so that when insects enter and exit the detection range of a reader, the reader identifies the insects via the wireless tag; and when the wireless tag is no longer in range, the Zigbee node sends a data packet indicating that the insect left the location. Multiple insects may enter one location at the same time, and this system can be designed to monitor the entry and exit of multiple insects. Since the focus for this project is on the design and development of the wireless insect tag and the corresponding reader/monitoring station in this project, we will demonstrate the connection of a small number of (approximately ten) readers/monitoring stations to a single Zigbee node.