Commercial greenhouse growers in Mexico are using sniffer dogs as part of their Integrated Pest Management programs.
A Mexican pepper grower has turned to the technique to detect the small Pepper Weevil (Anthonomus eugenii) that affects plants in the Capsaicin family.
Even in fully enclosed, high-tech greenhouses, the weevils still find their way in. For that reason, in January 2022, the farm employed Green Dog Pest Service of Washington to train two Belgian Malinois to detect the odor of live Pepper Weevils.
“Our client has invested a significant amount into this program without much of a guarantee, and we couldn’t be more excited about the results. We knew the dogs could detect the weevils, but in 15.5-acre greenhouses (6.3 hectares), with 200,000 or more plants growing over four meters tall, searching for tiny flying insects isn’t easy,” said Deanna Sparks-Kjorlien, president of Green Dog Pest Service.
The dogs’ detection of weevils has enabled much more accurate monitoring of the greenhouses to prevent infestations from taking hold – statistics suggest that the dogs are 70% more efficient at finding weevils than humans.
Read the complete article at www.thescottishfarmer.co.uk.