Artificial Intelligence employed to protect crops against the oriental fruit fly.

A female oriental fruit fly laying her eggs into a Papaya. (ARS, USDA)

A new system has been developed in Taiwan which uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the monitoring of the oriental fruit fly (Bactrocera dorsalis). The system uses infrared beams to detect the number of flies present in the area, in order to predict impending outbreaks. It is hoped that this system will reduce the need for the drastic action seen in California recently, which saw an emergency alert issued after 13 insects were spotted in the state. This prompted insecticide to be sprayed on affected crops and could lead to large areas of farmland being quarantined to avoid the spread of the pest.

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California on alert against citrus psyllid

 The detection of the Asian citrus psyllid (Diaphorina citri) in a citrus grove in Ventura County, California, has set alarm bells ringing in the Californian citrus industry, and led to the imposition of a quarantine in the County just as the citrus harvest was getting under way. The psyllid, now found throughout Florida and present in a number of other U.S. states, is a serious pest of citrus, and is the primary vector for citrus greening (also called Huanglongbing or HLB), one of the more serious diseases of these fruit crops. All citrus and closely related species are susceptible hosts for both the insect and the disease, and there is no cure once a tree is infected with HLB.

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