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Researching how detection dogs can combat invasive species and plant disease

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Category: research Video duration: Researching how detection dogs can combat invasive species and plant disease
The spotted lanternfly is an invasive insect plaguing plants, especially grapes, across the globe. Faculty at the Alson H. Smith Jr. Agricultural Research and Extension Center are researching how trained detection dogs can help farmers and vineyard owners better prepare their crops against these insects.
The problem with the spotted lanternfly is that it's relatively new pest for us in our area what we are doing right now is we are trying to understand the biology of these insects so that we can find the best timing for the application of insecticides our research is focusing on being able to figure out if we can train dogs to detect the eggs of these insects. this insect doesn't care too much about the surface they want to lay eggs on. So they can put them on the stones. They can put them on metal, they can put them on wood. It doesn't matter. It's very difficult to see. So by having the aid from the dogs will probably be really beneficial to help growers to prepare for the season or maybe next year when that they will probably come in a big masses. "Where? Oh, you're right." The number of acres that, for example, a vineyard might cover. It would take a human hours and hours and hours. And oftentimes the accuracy of the human is pretty limited. Dogs' detection abilities equates to basically a teaspoon of sugar in an Olympic-size swimming pool. So if we can make sure that they are only detecting the egg masses, we can set them forth in a couple acre field or vineyard. And they'd be able to tell us at least where significant quantities of those egg masses are. And at that point, once the farmers or vineyard owners know that then they can take action against it. We are hoping that the same idea can be translated into other diseases and pests in the vineyard. Our next phase is actually to train a dog with a disease called the powdery mildew of the grades. And so far what we've found a based on preliminary data is that they can be trained. They can be trained to detect that powdery mildew spores or maybe the reaction by the grapes. Which we don't know yet. "Where? Yes, good boy" a lot of those handlers are looking for a more fulfilling tasks to do with their dog. Their dog is already very, very highly accurately detecting novel odors in environments, in the sport testing environment. Why not see if they can learn this particular odor and then they would have an additional fulfilling activity to do with their dog that's also doing some good for the community as well. So that's the big goal to figure out a way to develop that. And can I create this deployable, really robust network of citizen scientist handlers and canine scientists to be able to go out and detect whatever the latest invasive species is.