Most unmanned aerial vehicles in agriculture are being used for imaging and scouting. Parabug is putting a spin on how they use the technology. Their UAV hovers over crops and releases beneficial insects like predatory mites to boost a grower’s natural defenses. California central coast growers saw the drone in action at the annual Santa Maria Strawberry Field Day. “It gives drones the ability to put out beneficials like mites or parasitoids,” Parabug Owner Chandler Bennett said. “Pretty much any pest has a predator.”
Bennet said they fly the UAV about five feet above the ground and are still testing the best way to disperse the natural predators. Being a grower himself, Bennett said he has seen good results from the technology and aims to get some research to support what he is seeing.
Parabug is testing the technology on strawberries but they hope to expand the target crops to vegetables like lettuce and brassicas.