- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
The review paper, “Drones: Innovative Technology for Use in Precision Pest Management,” is one of the first of its kind to summarize scientific literature on the use of agricultural drones for pest management.
In advocating the need for more research, the authors said that drones are becoming an important part of precision pest management, from detecting pests to controlling them.
“We propose extensive communication and collaboration between scientists from various disciplines, extension agents, industry professionals, and commercial growers to reach drones' optimal potential to help with pest management and control,” said De Lange, the corresponding author and a postdoctoral fellow in the Christian Nansen lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology who assembled the team of authors.
The paper 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.
“Most literature concerns remote sensing,” said de Lange.
"Drones became indispensable for IPM programs in Brazil, specially for Biological Control," said lead author and entomologist Fernando Iost Filho of the Department of Entomology and Acarology, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. "They are currently being used for releasing parasitoids in thousands of acres of field crops, such as sugarcane and soybean,
said Filho, a former exchange student at UC Davis. "Their use for monitoring crop health is also expected to increase in the Brazilian fields in the next few years."
“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, noting that drones are increasingly used in agriculture for various purposes, commented: “They are often equipped with remote sensing technology, for yield predictions, evaluation of crop phenology, or characterization of soil properties.”
“There are myriad possibilities for use of drones in pest management,” she said. “Sensing drones, equipped with remote sensing technology, could help detect pest hotspots. Pests are often small and hard to find, so indirect detection, through changes in how plants reflect light, has the potential to find the pest earlier, treat earlier, and keep damage in check.”
“Furthermore, actuation drones, equipped with precision spray rigs or dispensers of biocontrol organisms, could apply localized solutions. Pesticide sprays exactly where needed would reduce the needs to spray an entire field. More efficient distribution of biocontrol organisms would make them a more competitive alternative to pesticides.”
“Remote sensing equipment,” she added, “can also be placed on manned aircraft and satellites. However, drones fly lower, increasing images' spatial resolution, and making clouds less of an issue. They are generally cheaper and can be flown more frequently. Compared to ground-based devices, drones can cover much more ground in a shorter period of time.”
The authors said that drones could also be used to distribute sterile insects and mating disruption, and contribute to pest outbreak prevention, rather than provide only solutions to existing problems.
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 does much of her research on California strawberries.
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
The ESA Governing Board today announced that Zalom will succeed John Trumble, distinguished professor of entomology at UC Riverside. Trumble, editor-in-chief for 20 years, informed ESA in late 2017 of his intent to leave the role in 2018. In January, the journal's editorial board launched a widespread search for his successor.
A 43-member of ESA and the 2014 president, Zalom will serve a five-year term as editor-in-chief. The journal publishes research on the economic significance of insects. It includes sections on apiculture and social insects, insecticides, biological control, household and structural insects, crop protection, forest entomology, and other topics.
"Dr. Frank Zalom's career can be viewed as a model of applied entomology derived from an understanding of basic biology, and he is an ideal choice to be the new editor-in-chief of the Journal of Economic Entomology (JEE)," said ESA President Michael Parrella in an ESA news release.
"His unparalleled and broad expertise will serve to continue the journal's growth as the publication of choice for applied entomological research and to build upon the legacy of Dr. John Trumble," said Parrella, dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at Idaho State University and former professor and chair, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Zalom's 40-year career intersects entomological research, teaching, and application. He served 16 years as director of the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM) and is the only entomologist in the UC system to receive a simultaneous appointment in teaching, research, and extension. His focuses his research on IPM of agricultural crops.
"I couldn't be more pleased to be selected the next editor-in-chief of the Journal of Economic Entomology," Zalom said. "I have spent the last 40 years of my career trying to solve economically important problems caused by arthropods using an IPM approach, and this journal, as well as ESA's other journals, have always served as a primary foundation and outlet for research conducted in my lab. As I approach the end of my career, I hope to be able to dedicate my efforts to enhancing our Society's influence on science and its application to addressing some of the most important entomological challenges that affect communities worldwide. JEE is uniquely positioned to do exactly that."
Zalom joined the UC system in 1980, serving in roles ranging from extension IPM coordinator to professor to vice chair of the department to advisor of the UC Davis International Agricultural Development Graduate Group. He has authored more than 335 journal articles and book chapters. including "Food, Crop Pests, and the Environment" published by APS Press.
His career includes serving as major professor for 12 Ph.D students and seven master's degree students.
Zalom is a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Royal Entomological Society, and ESA. Among his numerous honors: a Fulbright Senior Research Scholarship (1992-93), the ESA Achievement Award in Extension (1992), the ESA Recognition Award (2002), the James H. Meyer Award from UC Davis for teaching, research and service (2004), the Entomological Foundation IPM Team Award (2008), the Entomological Foundation Excellence in IPM Award (2010), Outstanding Mentor Award from the UC Davis Consortium for Women and Research (2013) and the C. W. Woodworth Award (2011), the highest award given by the Pacific Branch of ESA (PBESA).
More recently, Zalom received a lifetime achievement award, presented at the 9th International IPM Symposium, held March 19-22 in Baltimore. Last month he played a key role in a U.S. Congressional briefing held in the Rayburn House Office Building to raise awareness for and increase understanding of areawide integrated pest management (AIPM) and the benefits of a comprehensive pest management policy, particularly as it relates to invasive species.
In addition to serving as president of the 7000-member ESA in 2014, Zalom served as the PBESA president (2001), and president of the Entomological Foundation in 2015. He continues to serve as a member of the Entomological Foundation board of directors and ESA's Science Policy Committee.
Zalom, who received his doctorate in entomology from UC Davis in 1978, holds two degrees in zoology and ecology from Arizona State University (bachelor of science, 1973, and master's degree, 1974).
Founded in 1889 and headquartered in Annapolis, Md., ESA is the world's largest organization serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines.