The one-foot device is made of stainless steel. It consists of three parts – a main tube, an insect trapping tube and a detachable plastic cone at the bottom. Equispaced perforations of 2 mm diameter are made on the main tube.
The behaviour of the insect has been exploited in this technology. Insects love air and move towards it. The device is inserted vertically into the grain. The top red cap must be in level with the grain.
The worms that surface when a bag of stored grain (say rice) is opened can be nauseating. Cleaning it can be equally disgusting. If only there is a device to make the task simple, it can help save both - labour and loss of the stored grain.
This was the principle on which S Mohan, Professor of Agricultural Entomology, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, worked when he developed the (stored product) insect monitoring device in the mid-90s. There were few takers then.
But two decades later, when some French nationals visited the TNAU in December last and purchased 25 units of the insect probe trap to monitor insect pests in stored corn, the locals too have started evincing interest in the device, says Mohan.
The Professor informed “We expect to ship some units in bulk around July-August, when the storage would start after harvest of the corn. We have started getting enquiries for shipping in bulk,”
“When insects creep towards the air, they make their way through the small holes in the device and fall into the detachable cone at the bottom. The cone can be unscrewed and cleaned once a week or so,” Mohan explained, highlighting its utility value. “It is free of chemical, no maintenance cost and needs no power to keep it running.”
According to him, two units can be used in a bag containing 25 kg of the grain, and every household can have one or two units of the device.
“There is a huge market for the trap in India itself. Around half a million households are using the trap at present. The Meghalaya Government has evinced interest in sourcing the device,” he added.
TNAU has inked a pact with two firms – Melwin Engineering and KSNM. These two firms have the license to commercialise the insect probe trap. On cost, he said “it was priced at ₹60 a unit around 2001-02. Now, it has been revised to ₹100, mainly due to rising cost of steel.”