The iMapPESTS sentinel surveillance for agriculture has commenced a trial of its mobile insect surveillance unit in Ayr, Queensland.

The mobile surveillance unit, Sentinel 9, has been deployed next to a crop of melons at the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Research Station and will monitor key horticultural insect pests including aphids, thrips, and leafminers.

The sentinel generates daily insect samples using an automated carousel that is programmed once a week by an operator.

These samples are collected weekly and analysed by entomologists to identify and quantify a shortlist of priority targets.

The results are then compared with observations from a local agronomist who is monitoring the melons crops weekly.

This trial is helping demonstrate the usefulness and efficacy of the sentinel surveillance systems to the horticulture industry. Ground truthing and benchmarking data from the trial will assist in turning the project outputs into actionable information for industry

Data from the trial is available on the iMapPESTS website (

Find out more

Further details can be found at the iMapPESTS website. You can follow the project on Twitter.

To learn more, please contact the iMapPESTS Project Coordinator Shakira Johnson on 0433 937 564 or at

The program (2017-2023) is supported by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited, through funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment as part of its Rural R&D for Profit Program and Grains Research & Development Corporation, Sugar Research Australia, Cotton Research & Development Corporation, Wine Australia, AgriFutures Australia, and Forest and Wood Products Australia.

Project Number: ST16010

Image: Sentinel 9 monitoring at Queensland’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Ayr Research Station alongside a crop of melons (Photo credit: Sarah Limpus)