CUTTACK: Scientists at the National Rice Research Institute (NRRI) have developed a solar-based AELT (Alternate Energy Light Trap) device to effectively control pests and reduce the indiscriminate use of chemical insecticides in crops.
The device was invented by Shyamaranjan Das Mohapatra, Principal Scientist (Entomology), and Mayabini Jena, former head of the plant protection department, and is the first of its kind in the country. The scientists received a patent for the invention on February 8th. The breakthrough technology is said to be a powerful weapon in the hands of farmers to control pest and insect infestations, which are increasing at an alarming rate.
The AELT comprises a light trap unit for attracting flying insects and a collection unit for depositing these insects. The scientists said that monitoring insects in light traps will allow farmers to know the species lurking in the field and whether or not they are at manageable levels. As soon as the insect population in the light traps exceeds the economic threshold (ETL), farmers can take appropriate pest control measures.
Leading innovator Das Mohapatra explained the device, saying the light trap could be installed directly on the grain fields. The collection unit has two chambers separated by a net with large holes to separate the tiny insects (mostly useful insects) from the larger ones. The unit further includes a vibratory assembly that separates the species.
“As soon as the net begins to vibrate, the tiny beneficial insects fall down and collect in the second chamber. The non-target insects can then easily escape into the culture environment. This ability to escape non-targeted / natural predators from the main insect collection unit is a desirable attribute for a bio-intensive approach to pest control, ”said Dr. The Mohapatra.
The light trap unit is equipped with a sensor that automatically lights up at dusk and switches off after three to four hours according to the time set by the user in the timer. The device has a heavy-duty battery that can be used to store and operate the device even in cloudy and foggy weather. The battery can be operated for four to five days. The device would cost between 4,100 and 8,000 euros, said Das Mohapatra.