Spensa’s Cloud-Based Technology Helps Farmers Automate Pest Control

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and visualize their pest data; that data can then be used to create a report.

The Z-Trap works a little differently. A box with sensors replaces the sticky tape of yesterday; it’s hung on trees and emits pheromones to attract pests. Once the insects make contact with the Z-Trap, they get zapped. The Z-Trap’s computer processes the signal and confirms that the bug zapped was a targeted pest. It streams that tracking data to the cloud, where it can be viewed in almost real time via OpenScout or the company’s website, Park says.

According to Park, Spensa’s technology appeals to the agricultural industry because it’s much easier than doing it manually. Spensa’s products also allow growers to make adjustments on the fly and do more with less, he adds.

“Our products collect and report data on a daily basis,” Park says. “We can inform growers about the number of pests and larva, giving them the optimal time window of when to apply insecticide based on our data modeling.”

Spensa, which has about 45 employees working out of its headquarters in West Lafayette, IN, raised $2.5 million in a Series A round last year; investors include Elevate Ventures, Village Capital, and the Purdue Foundry. Park says the company will raise its next round of financing later this year.

As for other plans in 2017, Park says Spensa is planning to deploy more than 200 Z-Traps across the Midwest in a National Science Foundation project monitoring the migration of row crop pests.  Spensa has been field-testing the Z-Trap in the United States, Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand since 2010 and expects to fully release it to the public by spring.

“I want to be the best at data-driven pest control,” Park says of the company’s long-term goals. “Thirty percent of crops are lost to pests, and I believe we can do much better. It’s a problem worth devoting your entire career to.”

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