- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
The authors and their paper, “Drones: Innovative Technology for Use in Precision Pest Management,” will be recognized at the Entomological Society of America (ESA) meeting, set Oct. 31-Nov. 3 in Denver.
"On behalf of our team, first author Fernando lost Filho, a doctoral student in entomology at the University of São Paulo, Brazil, and a former UC Davis exchange student, will deliver the presentation at the ESA meeting," said de Lange, a former postdoctoral fellow in the Christian Nansen laboratory at the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and now of The Netherlands.
Other co-authors are remote sensing expert Wieke Heldens of the German Aerospace Center, Wessling, Germany; and engineer and drone communication expert Zhaodan Kong, associate professor, UC Davis Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.
“Drones can be equipped with a range of attachments, such as sensors, pesticide sprayers, and natural enemy releasers, and can therefore contribute to more sustainable agriculture in various ways,” said de Lange, who assembled the team and serves as the corresponding author.
“They are highly versatile," she said, "and have great commercial potential.”
Their paper, one of the first-of-its-kind to summarize scientific literature on the use of agricultural drones for pest management, covers the use of drones with remote sensing equipment to detect pest problems from the air. It calls for the increased use of actuation drones, to provide solutions such as spraying pesticides and releasing biocontrol organisms.
JEE Award. Every year the editors-in-chief and editorial boards of the Journal of Economic Entomology (JEE) and Environment Entomology along with ESA and Oxford University Press, select outstanding research publications for special recognition. The categories include Editors' Choice, Readers' Choice and Reviewers' Choice.
For the JEE Editors' Choice award, the editors-in-chief nominate papers based on citation, readership and Altmetric scores. The winners are determined by a vote of the JEE subject editors. JEE co-editors-in-chief are Frank Zalom, UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology; Mike Brewer, entomology professor, Texas A&M University; and Nan-Yao Su, distinguished professor of entomology at the University of Florida. JEE is ESA's largest journal by publishing volume and the most-cited journal in entomology. (See ESA website.)
ESA announced the awards online. All of the winning papers are currently online.
Improving Crop Monitoring Procedures. “Early outbreak detection and treatment application are inherent to effective pest management, allowing management decisions to be implemented before pests are well-established and crop losses accrue,” the authors wrote in their abstract. “Pest monitoring is time-consuming and may be hampered by lack of reliable or cost-effective sampling techniques. Thus, we argue that an important research challenge associated with enhanced sustainability of pest management in modern agriculture is developing and promoting improved crop monitoring procedures.”
Drones can target pest outbreaks or hot spots in field crops and orchards, such as Colorado potato beetle in potato fields or sugarcane aphid in sorghum, the scientists pointed out. “Pests are unpredictable and not uniformly distributed. Precision agricultural technologies, like the use of drones, can offer important opportunities for integrated pest management (IPM).”
De Lange, who holds a doctorate in chemical ecology from the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, joined the Nansen lab in 2016. Her research interests include plant-insect interactions, integrated pest management, chemical ecology and precision agriculture. She focused much of her research on California strawberries.