Fumigant Reduction Potential Using Wireless Smart Technology for Early Detection of Insect Activity in Rice During Storage, 2022


Zhongli Pan, Dept. of Biological & Agricultural Engineering, UC Davis

For the last four years, the RRB has studied how to detect insects in stored rice. This project has developed a wireless probe that can detect insect infestations far earlier than typical human monitoring. A smart probe has been successfully designed, tested and demonstrated for insect detection in stored agricultural products. Up to this point the research has focused on inserting the probes into the top layer of rice. This has demonstrated excellent, rapid insect detection even when human monitors cannot detect any insects. What has not been determined was if the top layer of rice was sufficient for monitoring or if deeper monitoring was required.

To accomplish this deeper monitoring, four of the standard 20 probe sections were stacked one on top of another. Each section contained a camera and other data logging equipment. These 80 probes were pressed into the stored rice and monitored. It is believed that insect infestation generally starts from the top layer of rice and gradually moves down to the bottom when the population becomes large. If true, and insect populations can be detected early, then treatment can occur in only the top layer, thus saving treatment costs.

The deeper level, multi-segmented monitoring was conducted at two commercial rice storage facilities. Insect activities were observed and environmental conditions recorded. The results indicated that the insect infestation started at the top layer of rice and the insects intended to stay in the top layer. Based on the observed results of insect activity, a top-layer disinfestation treatment was conducted in the early stage of the infestation.

The top layer disinfestation treatment was performed instead of fumigating the entire product. The results showed that this limited, top layer treatment had only about 16% of the chemical cost this year compared to the typical treatment of fumigating all the rice in the facility.

It is concluded that the early detection of insect infestation coupled with top layer disinfestation treatment can significantly reduce the chemical use and related costs for pest management. This procedure should also avoid damage of the rice from insects.