A Solar-Powered Alternative To Insecticides

Organic farmers have a wealth of alternatives to synthetic insecticides—biological pest control, row covers, and even natural insecticides. A company called AgriSolar has a different alternative: a solar-powered system that attracts, disorients, and ultimately kills insects.

The system is incredibly effective, if AgriSolar is to be believed. The company claims that it can kill 85% to 90% of all harmful insects on an organic farm. The secret is AgriSolar's lightbulb, which "is designed with certain color spectrum that attracts significantly more bugs," according to CFO Arnold Tinter. Here's how the system works: Solar panels power up the lightbulb, which turns on at dusk when insects start coming out. The insects are attracted to the bulb (from a 20-acre radius), become disoriented, and then eventually fall into a water-filled collection bin.

"Structurally, there's not much to it," says Tinter. That doesn't mean it's cheap, however; most large, two-bulb units run between $1,000 and $1,200. This is, according to Tinter, comparable to the cost of chemical insecticides.

AgriSolar's units have already been deployed widely in China, where there are at least 100,000 systems in over 20 provinces (in Guangdong, for example, there are 22 units being tested on rice, vegetable, lychee, dragon eye, banana, sugercane, orange, flowers, and tea tree crops). The solar-powered units are also currently being tested in the U.S. and Europe. If they work as well as AgriSolar claims, we imagine that they will quickly become popular.

[Image courtesy of AgriSolar]

Reach Ariel Schwartz via Twitter or email.

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  • SRK

    Hi, I am in India and am very much interested in the bug killer featured in the article. I believe this will also be effective against mosquitoes too.

    I keep travelling to China very often and am interested in buying this device. even if only the bulb is available, I belive that i can still run it on electricity and get the same results. Please advice if otherwise.
    Kindly reply to my email ID ramki.695 
    Appreciate an early reply.

  • Jean-Paul Lefaivre

    The system could be made cheaper by using ultra-violet LEDs.Not only would it be cheaper it would use less electrical energy from the solar powered recharged batteries.That certainly would make the units available to all farmers.

  • lngtrm1

    Ariel, I detect some doubt on your part. Doesn't 100,000 systems kind of take you past the proving stage?

    Also, It's worth noting that it would only work on nightime flying insects, no?