Pests, insects, pathogens, nematodes, and weeds on the farm need regular inspection or scouting to estimate their abundance and lower their potential harm to the plant to a financially reasonable threshold. Growing trap crops to attract harmful pests away from the cash crop and flowering insectary strips to attract feed and shelter their natural enemies that are feeding on harmful insects can dramatically reduce the insect pest population by working together. After planting these crops, use these scouting methods to discover what types of pests and beneficial insects you have attracted.
First is the installation of 3 x 5-inch sticky trap cards dyed with substances such as Tanglefoot Tangle-Trap Sticky Coating or double-stick, which entails mounting each with a clothing pin on a 3-ft-long bamboo stick. Come back after 24 or 48 hours, collect the trap, and identify the trapped insects.
In the second method, insects are swept with nets between 12 and 15 inches in diameter made of muslin or polyester. Sweep this net through the insectary strip flowers two or three times to catch insects flying or hiding. Collect the insects and place them in a glass container. Likewise, you can sweep the net over your trap and cash crops to identify pests feeding on them.
Next is a pitfall trap to catch ground-dwelling insects like spiders and ground beetles. To make these traps, use a bulb planter to dig a hole in the ground the size of a 16-ounce plastic cup. If you want to monitor ground-dwelling insects in many areas, label the cup with a marker to identify the collection site.
Erecting light and pheromone traps are also effective for insect monitoring at very low densities and dealing with exotic pests. Pheromone traps only attract male pests to the lures containing sex pheromones for mating, which will fall into a container containing pesticides and deprive female insects of finding mates and reproducing, while light traps attract both male and female insects.
However, with the advancement of technology, different types of pest-detecting sensors are now used for pest monitoring, making farming simple and more profitable. They are classified based on their mode of operation, energy usage, and the sort of pests they detect. Some have high-resolution sensing capability and can identify extremely small pest species concealed deep within a crop, while others only record photos visible to the naked eye. Sound-detecting sensors, for example, detect pests’ chewing, flying, or mating sounds, while spectral remote sensors display data as images; fluorescence image sensors measure the amount of chlorophyll in a leaf by comparing its image to that of a healthy leaf; and gas detection sensors detect plant-released volatile chemical compounds in the atmosphere, which is then recorded as an image.
Crop pests are dangerous and can cause 30–50% reduction in farm productivity. Early pest detection can benefit the farm while saving you money and stress. Thus, it is critical to use the available crop pest monitoring methods to assess the severity of pests, disease and weed on your farm.