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Rainy with a chance of bugs: Insect forecast coming to Vancouver

Vancouver will get a bug forecast in 2023.
UBC researchers are working on an insect forecast for Vancouver by 2023.

Umbrella? Check. Sunglasses? Check. Bug repellent? Eventually.

UBC researchers are working on an insect forecast that will track bugs across Vancouver by 2023. 

While Vancouverites will be enjoying the summer weather, UBC researchers plan to set up between 60 and 70 cameras, known as Sticky Pi cameras, across the UBC Vancouver campus and the UBC Farm to catch and identify bugs.

The Sticky Pi cameras are both optics and a sticky trap that catch bugs and take pictures which computers later identify with the help of artificial intelligence, all done in real-time. Typically, entomologists catch and identify bugs by hand which doesn't allow for real-time monitoring. 

The Sticky Pi project will eventually buzz into the city with aims of creating a public bug forecast.

“It’s almost like a weather forecast of insects," says Dr. Quentin Geissmann, co-lead of the Sticky Pi project. “By creating real-time data for the public, UBC will serve as an early alert system for monitoring insects pests – these maps and pest alerts will be communicated to growers and other agricultural stakeholders across Canada.”

The Sticky Pi project is also a citizen science initiative, letting community members get involved as volunteers in the researchers' "hackathons" to provide feedback on the trap technology. 

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