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From Twitter

10 July 2024
Citizen Science
In recent months, the IPM Popillia Consortium has collaborated with SPOTTERON to create informational and dissemination materials about the invasive Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica), which has been spreading across Europe for several years. R...
10 June 2024
Citizen Science
Prof. Francesco Nardi (University of Siena) and Prof. Rossella Annoni (junior high school G. Falcone, Cassina de' Pecchi, Milan) have been working together, this past year, with class 2D (12-13 years old pupils) on Popillia within the context of the ...
29 May 2024
Pest management
Project reports
Since 2023, the village of Kloten north of Zurich is not only famous for the Zurich Airport and for having a great ice hockey team, but also for harboring the first Popillia population in Europe north of the Alps. In summer and autumn of 2023, huge e...

A review of the progress made by PESSL III


Pessl Instruments GmbH has been producing reliable measuring instruments for 38 years and has developed various devices for the measurement and monitoring of different agricultural parameters, being one of the leading IoT providers for agriculture offering innovative and cost-effective solutions for more efficient farm management. Participating in the IPM-Popillia project gives PESSL a chance to put into the farmer's disposal all its expertise on sustainable agriculture and fulfill its mission to offer high-added value and customized cost-effective solutions and contribute to global environmental protection.


The IPM-Popillia project, funded by @EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, started in September 2020. Our expert team has been working on a monitoring device with the aim of P. japonica detection and monitoring.

The insect traps our team evolved include electronic devices with 10 MP lenses on the top of the housing and are self-sufficient through a battery and a solar panel. The traps are equipped with sensors collecting climatic data, like temperature, relative humidity, or wind, which will be used to get more detailed insight into the flight behavior of P. japonica. In addition, the trap system is equipped with a lure, attracting the target species to enter the trap system. After entering the trap, insects get fixed and photographed. The photos serve as a base for the development of an automatic detection tool specifically for P. japonica. Deep learning systems using artificial neural networks are training the system to detect and separate the targeted insect from non-targets, check more info in our previous blog post.

The prototype traps produced by PESSL were planned to be installed in high-risk areas of the first introduction of P. japonica, to evaluate the innovative monitoring tool under field conditions. In addition to the remote-controlled evaluation, catches of these traps are planned to be evaluated also manually by the experts. The results of these monitoring efforts will be then compared with automated monitoring results and will provide feedback for optimizing the detection software.


Ten prototype traps for P. japonica have been produced and installed in 2022 in France, Italy, and the Azores. They were shipped beginning of June 2022 to those different locations and have been installed by our partners there. So a big, big THANK you to all our partners supporting us in those trials: :

  • Nelson Simões & Màrio Brum Teixeira and their team on the Azores,
  • Giovanni Bosio, Michelangelo Regis, and their teams in Piemonte,
  • Luca Jelmini & Michela Meier and their team in Ticino, as well as
  • Nathalie Gourbeau from Service Régional de l'Alimentation (SRAL) in Strasbourg

Photos: iSCOUT Installation on field site in the Azores and in France.

We followed two approaches:

  • Comparison of the standard used monitoring devices with the iScout system (evaluation of catches and correlation).
  • Collecting pictures of P. japonica in traps for labeling and base of the machine learning approach on species level.

In the images above, the original and labeled photos are shown. The localization became more precise and the order classification of P. japonica as Coleoptera more stable (more insects were recognized and fewer mistakes in the order classification were performed).


  • Analyzing results of the evaluation between iScout devices and standard monitoring trap devices.
  • Labeling of photos collected in 2022 and training the AI for species level.
  • Getting information about the mass production ability of the specific ADD-On for production in higher capacity.


Dr. Christina Pilz, Product manager for camera solutions and team lead

I started working for PESSL in November 2014, while being responsible for the Decision Support Systems in Plant Health Management (Disease models and Camera Products). Previous to Pessl's career, I collected professional experience particularly in the biology and microbiological control of agricultural pest insects, having studied agriculture at the University of Agriculture and Applied Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna and working, at the Research Station Agroscope in Zürich as well as at the Plant Protection Service in Hungary and at the Agency for Health and Food Security, Austria. At PESSL I started by supporting the development of disease model implementations and for four years my focus lay also on electronically monitoring devices of pest insects in viticulture, agriculture, and fruit production.

Damir Najvirt, Machine learning engineer

I studied physics, specializing in stochastic processes and their role in the development of financial markets at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in Maribor, Slovenia. I have been working for PESSL since 2016, where I developed image processing solutions for our camera products and automated systems for fruit and insect recognition. I am responsible for designing, evaluating, and enhancing our machine learning stack. I am especially passionate about the transformation of data into valuable information that, in turn, guides farmers all over the world.

Eva Munda, Entomologist assistant

My entomology career started when I was about five years old and breeding mosquitoes in the living room. My parents were not amused, but I learned a lot about the life cycle of a mosquito. It was only a natural decision for me to study ecology and nature conservation at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in Maribor. I started to work for Pessl instruments in June 2021 as an Entomological assistant, with the main focus on insect identification. In my free time, I like to cook, paint, and spend some time in nature hiking, mushrooming, or birdwatching.

M.Sc. Junia Rojic, Project support officer

At PESSL, I am responsible for all the administrative tasks related to projects, including among others proposals, reports, deliverables, time schedules, meetings, minutes, and budget control. I studied Industrial Engineering at the Federal University of São Carlos, Brazil, recognized in Austria as a Master's degree in Materials Science. With more than 12 years of experience in Project Management, including many years in Brazil working at R&D and IT companies, I am delighted to be part of a European Project, with many important stakeholders, and most importantly, supporting agriculture and food production in the 21st century. In my free time I do sports, like volleyball and indoor football, but also enjoy spending some time reading and in nature hiking

The Big Field Experiment
IPM Popillia Citizen Science App has been updated!

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App Download Links (QR-Codes)

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(Apple App Store) 

 qrcode appPopillia appstore

 EU Flag This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 861852