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Trapview: Can an AI-Powered Bug Trap Solve a $220 Billion Pest Problem?

Trapview: Can an AI-Powered Bug Trap Solve a $220 Billion Pest Problem?
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Pests destroy and cause up to 40% of the world’s crops each year $220 billion of economic losses, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Trapview harnesses the power of AI to address the problem.

The Slovenian company has developed a device that captures and identifies pests and acts as an early warning system by predicting how they will spread.

“We have built the world’s largest database of insect images, which allows us to really make the most of modern AI-based computing vision,” says Matej Štefančič, CEO of Trapview and its parent company EFOS.

As climate change leads to the spread of species and the migration patterns of highly destructive pests such as Dessert LocustsŠtefančič hopes to help farmers save their crops through faster and smarter interventions.

The automated devices were used to monitor grapes, tomatoes, olives, tree fruit and, as shown here, brassicas.

Trapview devices use pheromones to attract pests, which are photographed by an internal camera. The AI ​​compares the images to Trapview’s database and is able to identify over 60 species, including the codling moth, which affects apples, and the cotton bollworm, which can damage lettuce and tomatoes. Once identified, the system integrates location and weather data, maps the likely impact of the insect, and sends the results to farmers via an app.

Depending on the terrain and the value of the crop, a single trap could cover an area from a few hectares to more than 100 hectares, according to Štefančič. Devices come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with the system tailored to crops and landscapes. Štefančič says that a single insect can sometimes be a cause for concern. In other cases, hundreds of insects can be caught and still not be a cause for concern.

Trapview’s app can also calculate where and when pesticides are best used. Štefančič says Trapview can significantly reduce the use of chemical sprays and the need for farmers to visit their fields. By reducing the emissions generated by Farmers who drive to their fields and those involved in the production and transportation of pesticides, the technology can also help the climate, he claims.

Trapview is one of several automated pest detection systems.

“Any agritech and AI that can help address the challenges of the global food crisis is a good thing,” said Steve Edgington, biopesticides team leader at the Center for Agriculture and Bioscience International, a nonprofit intergovernmental organization.

Around 2 million tons of pesticides are used every year, explains Edgington.

“Reducing the use of pesticides on farmland is very important if we are to produce food sustainably and amid the challenges of pests and diseases and climate change,” he adds.

Trapview currently has 50 employees and received $10 million in investments in September. It’s not the only one using AI to help with pest control. developed by Pessl Instruments iScouta solar-powered insect trap and camera identification system, while FarmSense’s FlightSensor listens for vermin and uses AI to identify them by the sound of their wing beats.

According to Buyung Hadi, FAO Agriculture Officer, solutions like Trapview represent a departure from conventional crop protection, which typically relies on reactive rather than proactive approaches.

“Predictive technologies can ease the transition to more sustainable crop protection when coupled with safe and sustainable solutions like biological control,” says Hadi, while cautioning that the quality of data from these technologies is crucial.

“Great care must be taken in formulating the messages and recommendations that come out of predictive technologies so that they do not trigger panic among farmers, which could trigger the very indiscriminate use of pesticides that we would like to avoid in the first place,” he adds .

Trapview says it has sold over 7,500 devices in more than 50 countries since its launch in 2012. It has focused on Italy, France, Spain, the United States and Brazil, targeting crops as diverse as grapes, tomatoes, olives, tree crops and cabbage., cotton and sugar cane.

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