Sniffing out cotton bugs


David Degenhardt: When plants are injured by insects, they give off odors that are different from odors that are given off by a healthy or an undamaged plant. The sensor technology that we are developing is capable of distinguishing between a plant that is damaged versus a healthy plant based on the differences in the odor profiles.

Ahmad Khalilian: Stink bugs cost South Carolina cotton farmers millions of dollars every year. Currently, cotton farmers pay ten dollars per acre to a consultant to check the bolls and based on twenty percent damage tell them to spray. But most farmers believe that by that time, the damage is already done and they are spraying for revenge. We have developed sensors, which can detect stink bugs' damage. We can install it on a grower's sprayer to spray where it is needed and when it is needed, as opposed to a uniform blanket rate. This will reduce the amount of chemical applied and increase the farmer's profitability.