A STARTUP company that uses technology to control destructive pests has been backed by a specialist agritech venture capital firm.
It provides digital pest surveillance and forecasting tools for farmers, growers, and communities.
RapidAIM's analytics system detects the exact location of insects such as fruit fly, as soon as they arrive, before notifying growers via an app on their phone.
Agrifood tech venture capital firm Tenacious Ventures is financially backing RapidAIM.
Dr Nancy Schellhorn said the sensor technology was a world-first, because it used the unique behavior of insects to identify them.
"Just like a fingerprint can unlock your phone, once an insect enters one of our small, mobile traps, it 'unlocks' a RapidAIM sensor," she said.
"The location of that insect is then logged in real time."
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The sensors can be hung in an orchard or paddock and use ultra-low power radio technology to immediately alert farmers of a pest problem, and let them know when control is working.
"This is a game-changer in the insect-sensing world," Dr Schellhorn said.
"There are other players out there - but they tend to use cameras which are expensive, use a lot more power, and are difficult to scale."
RapidAIM has deployed more than 500 sensors from northern Queensland to southern Victoria, and New Zealand, serving 170 end users with timely, actionable pest management insights for fruit fly.
The company is also working to apply their proprietary detection systems to other pests including fall armyworm and codling moth, to serve both row crop and horticultural markets in the future.
Tenacious Ventures co-founder Matthew Pryor said RapidAIM provided a relatively inexpensive solution to a vexing problem while also addressing a shift in the agriculture industry towards lowering chemical use.
"Current pest control practices largely rely on the use of chemical insecticides as a blunt instrument: wide-scale spraying conducted 'just in case', as an insurance mechanism giving growers peace of mind that they are protected, " he said.
"The end result, however, is that chemical insecticides are overused, resulting in otherwise avoidable costs for growers and significant ecological impacts. "
Mr Pryor said the company was thrilled to join existing Seed Round investor, Main Sequence Ventures, in funding RapidAIM.
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The story Pest management technology startup pushes fruit fly control first appeared on Stock & Land.