RapidAIM co-founder & CEO Dr Nancy Schellhorn has taken part in the IAEA’s Insect Pest Control Newsletter’s latest edition, where she describes how RapidAIM’s digital fruit fly surveillance and Monitoring service lead to a 35% cost reduction compared with manual trap checking.
The original newsletter can be found here (page 36):
Below is a transcript:
Monitoring insect traps is a corner stone of best practice for pest management. However, checking traps by hand is costly, and can add to delays in managing the problem. Automated insect monitoring is becoming a reality and solutions are increasingly available in the marketplace.
In Australia, a solution developed by a team of scientists formerly from the national research facility, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is being adopted by growers, local government and grower associations. The Company, RapidAIM Pty Ltd, now provides the RapidFLY digital fruit fly surveillance and monitoring service for Queensland fruit fly (Bactrocera tryoni). The service is underpinned with platform technology in the form of low-power, easy-to-use sensors that detect flies, communicate information to the cloud, and then to the mobile app of the end user in real time.
“We developed our digital surveillance and monitoring platform technology because we want to break down the barriers to sustainable pest management.” Dr Nancy Schellhorn, co-inventor of the technology, said, “This technology integrates well with other tools and technologies because when you can see problem areas then you can target control, biological or chemical, and know quickly if control is working”.
The technology was scientifically validated in a national trial with the Australian Government. The study showed that Qfly catches were not different in the RapidFLY traps compared to the Lynfield trap, the Australian government standard trap, and that automated detection performance was very reliable; rarely was a fly missed and false alarms hovered around 2-5%. In addition, RapidFLY was shown to reduce the cost of manual trap checking by 35%. With battery life exceeding 12 months, the main maintenance is for lure change. The work is currently being prepared for peer review.
The low-cost, low power sensors are now being deployed at industrial scale across regions for surveillance, and at high density across orchards allowing for a tight link with management.
Beyond the commercial offering, the telescopic granularity of the data flow has lead to many interesting observations. “On the RapidAIM mobile app we can see the time of day that male Qflies are active, and the relationship to weather, and we can also see the source of first detections in the season and how the flies move and spread across a region”, said Nancy. The team will continue to develop the technology for application across the tephritid group and beyond.