What if there was a free service that could alert you via email of garden pests coming soon to your specific location? That would be pretty cool. Well, guess what, there is and they are the Big Bug Hunt.
What is it?
The Big Bug Hunt is an international research project run by Growing Interactive, the provider of the world’s leading apps for gardeners. They’re working in association with the University of York with funding provided by Innovate UK and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).
As gardeners, they know just how useful it would be to receive alerts about which pests are heading our way. Many organic control methods need to be put in place before the pests strike – it’s often too late to save a crop once the bad bugs have arrived. That’s why they are creating the most advanced predictive system available by combining the latest developments in computer statistical analysis with reports from gardeners around the world.
How does it work?
The Big Bug Hunt is possibly the largest citizen science project of its kind, ever! Working with leading gardening companies and publications around the world, they are reaching out to millions of gardeners, asking them to report when and where they spotted a bug. That data is tracked, including beneficial insects, and combine this with highly accurate weather data to feed into our prediction models. That information is what is sent out to subscribers at locations that the model predicts the bug will soon arrive. That’s where we come in!
Reporting a Bug
Reporting your pest sightings couldn’t be easier. The window below is a screen capture of the window that pops up when you are ready to report a bug. This information forms the basis for their predictive analysis. Any reports you give helps their model to predict when a particular type of pest can be expected in your garden.
The Big Bug Hunt website provides a bug identification guide to help you identify which type of bug has arrived in your garden. They also provide information on some diseases as well.
The Big Bug Hunt also periodically sends out useful information on things you can do to manage pests. For example, this is a snippet from an email discussing how birds are part of the solution for pest control.
With input from gardeners like you and our growing online community, the data we collect from The Big Bug Hunt has the potential to make a lasting impact.
The following is a snippet of one of their warning notifications:
So, you can see just how valuable this information is to achieve a bountiful harvest in your garden. Garden pests can cause tremendous harm if not identified and handled quickly. This tool gives you a heads-up hopefully before you will even see those bugs. Every report you give helps the model which helps yourself and other gardeners out. The success of this powerful free tool is easy to see. Therefore, send in your reports when you see new bugs in your garden!
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