2014 InsectWarn

Acoustic early warning systems for insects control in grain storage

Grains are the most important food staple in Sub-Saharan Africa. Kenya’s economy largely depends on the agricultural sector and about 75% of Kenyans owe their livelihood to agriculture. Grain production in Kenya does not tally with the national consumption patterns and the deficit has to be met by importation. About 66% of the manufacturing sector is agro based. Storage insect infestation causes enormous losses reducing the investment made to its production and perpetuating famine and food insecurity. The most widely produced and consumed grains in Kenya are Maize, Wheat, Rice and Beans. The rate of insect proliferation in large warehouses could be alarmingly high, especially with the warm climate in Kenya. Annual cereal grain losses of up to 50% in cereals and 100% in pulses have been reported, with average losses of 20% .Major insects that attack cereals and pulses include grain weevils, grain borers, grain beetles and grain moths. Pest prevention, early detection and monitoring help to reduce grain losses during storage. Detection of insect eggs and larvae in internal infestation in bulk grain storage facilities in Kenya is a major challenge. The sampling and sieving method is commonly used due to its simplicity; however, it is not sensitive to pre-emergent forms of insects and when the infestation level is low. Improved postharvest pests’ detection systems with increased sensitivity and affordable maintenance costs are needed in Africa. There is a need for tools for remote sensing of insects and detection of internal infestations for bulk stored grain. Automated detection methods for bulk grain storage are also needed to reduce the risks associated with entry into grain silos and grain stacks. This research work will study the acoustic profiles of insects of important food grains of Africa and process these acoustic signatures into numeric data suitable for an automatic recognition of insect sound spectrum and an easy discrimination from the noises in the storage environment.

responsible : Anastasia Wanjiru Njoroge

more information : ICIPE - International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology - African Insect Science for Food and Health