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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Mosquito and Fly Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #158842


item Shuman, Dennis
item LARSON, R.
item Epsky, Nancy

Submitted to: Transactions of the ASAE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2004
Publication Date: 10/1/2004
Citation: Shuman, D., Larson, R.G., Epsky, N.D. 2004. A quantitative stored-product insect monitoring system using sensor output analog processing (soap). Transactions of the ASAE.

Interpretive Summary: When insect pests take up residence in grain bins, they can quickly destroy the quality of the grain before their presence is noticed. To prevent this, managers can regularly check inside the bins for insects, by examining small samples of grain and/or by checking the contents of traps left in the grain. However, these procedures are very labor intensive and dangerous and therefore very expensive. As a result, managers often forego inspections and fumigate their bins on a scheduled basis which is also expensive and has associated health and environmental risks. Scientists at the Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology, USDA, ARS in Gainesville, FL, the Subtropical Horticulture Research Station, USDA, ARS, Miami, FL, and OPIsystems, Inc., Calgary, Alberta, Canada, have developed a system of traps with electronic sensors that allow managers to check for insects in their bins simply by looking at a computer screen in their office. Although such a system was initially developed at the same location several years ago, a new invention called SOAP has been added to the system which identifies the species of insects entering the traps. This species information is essential to estimate the numbers of insects in the bins based on the numbers of insects trapped and also improves the accuracy of the system by eliminating false insect counts due to such things as grain particles entering the traps and electrical interference from industrial machinery. With the computer showing exactly where and when an infestation is emerging, managers can nip an insect problem in the bud with a minimal amount of chemical or other alternative control method usage. In addition, the system provides continuous feedback on the effectiveness of the insect control operature, further reducing expenses by letting the manager know when the desired population reduction is achieved.

Technical Abstract: A system is described for automated monitoring of pest insects in stored products. It provides quantitative data indicative of the species of detected insects and is self-calibrating to maintain reliable operation across adverse external conditions, including environmental, biological and aging. The system employs grain probes with infrared beam optoelectronic sensor units, each having a dedicated electronic circuit with a microcontroller programmed to collect, analyze, store and transmit data from a signal pulse generated when an insect falls through its infrared beam. These data, transmitted back to a central computer in real-time, can be used to make infestation control decisions in an IPM program without the need for dangerous and labor-intensive scheduled bin entries.