Structured design of an automated monitoring tool for pest species

Monique F. Mul*, Johan P.M. Ploegaert, David R. George, Bastiaan G. Meerburg, Marcel Dicke, Peter W.G. Groot Koerkamp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Pests and diseases in agricultural systems cause severe production losses with associated economic impact. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a sustainable method to limit these losses. For improved implementation of IPM, fully automated monitoring tools are needed to provide instantaneous pest monitoring data and associated real time, user-friendly treatment advice for producers. The application of the Reflexive Interactive Design approach to design an automated pest monitoring tool including an automated pest detection sensor is described with Poultry Red Mite (PRM) as a model target. Three different concepts were designed for the automated mite detection sensor based on a combination of solutions to carry out the key functions. The functioning of the main solutions in the three concepts was tested with live mites to ensure that solutions aligned with the behaviour and biology of PRM in vivo. The best solutions were combined into two different prototypes, which were subsequently tested in the laboratory and on-farm. The most successful prototype of the automated mite detection sensor was situated under the bird's perch, had a through-beam sensor and was able to remove mites from the through-beam sensor area once recorded. Involvement of various multidisciplinary actors, users and varied user networks in the design process was vital for its rapid progress, the quality of the final product and the limited number of set-backs encountered. It is expected that this same design structure, with the addition of an evaluation step, is applicable to the design of automated monitoring tools for other pest species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-140
JournalBiosystems Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Arthropods
  • Dermanyssus gallinae
  • Laying hens
  • Methodical design
  • Pests
  • Poultry Red Mite
  • 017-3972

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