Autonomous camera traps for insects provide a tool for long-term remote monitoring of insects. These systems bring together cameras, computer vision, and autonomous infrastructure such as solar panels, mini computers, and data telemetry to collect images of insects.
With increasing recognition of the importance of insects as the dominant component of almost all ecosystems, there are growing concerns that insect biodiversity has declined globally, with serious consequences for the ecosystem services on which we all depend.
Automated camera traps for insects offer one of the best practical and cost-effective solutions for more standardised monitoring of insects across the globe. However, to realise this we need interdisciplinary teams who can work together to develop the hardware systems, AI components, metadata standards, data analysis, and much more.
This WILDLABS group has been set up by people from around the world who have individually been tackling parts of this challenge and who believe we can do more by working together.
We hope you will become part of this group where we share our knowledge and expertise to advance this technology.
Check out Tom's Variety Hour talk for an introduction to this group.
Learn about Autonomous Camera Traps for Insects by checking out recordings of our webinar series:
- Hardware design of camera traps for moth monitoring
- Assessing the effectiveness of these autonomous systems in real-world settings, and comparing results with traditional monitoring methods
- Designing machine learning tools to process camera trap data automatically
- Developing automated camera systems for monitoring pollinators
- India-focused projects on insect monitoring
Meet the rest of the group and introduce yourself on our welcome thread - https://www.wildlabs.net/discussion/welcome-autonomous-camera-traps-insects-group
Computational ecologist with interests in computer vision, citizen science, open science, drones, acoustics, data viz, software engineering, public engagement
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I am a staff scientist for the Appalachian Mountain Club interested in alpine plant phenology and climate change, and more recently pollinators in alpine areas of the Northeast.
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Field Assistant for Nature-Mates Nature Club working on Butterfly Conservation Projects in India
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I am Marylove,holder of bachelor degree in wildlife Management and conservation. I am interested in wildlife based research and conservation activities. *Also I am interested in entomology learning, I can do I identification and mounting of ant species.*wildlife article writer
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I'm the WILDLABS Research Specialist at WWF-US
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Application Developer at Octophin Digital and constant maker.
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Worked as a mechanical engineer for a defence co, then software engineer, then for a research lab specialising in underwater robotics.
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Master student in Biodiverity, Ecology & Evolution.
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Marine mammal ecologist and online technical trainer
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Kenyan Nature and Wildlife photographer
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The Department of Ecoscience, Aarhus University, invites applications for a postdoc position to strengthen our team on image recognition and deep learning in ecology. Specifically, the candidate will further develop...
9 May 2023
Postdoctoral position for 12 months initially, Cambridge University Agroecology Research Group.
6 April 2023
New role at Pivotal Earth
4 April 2023
New technology enabling the automated monitoring of moths has been put to rigorous testing in tropical conditions in Panama by an international team of researchers
22 February 2023
Are you excited by the potential for new technologies to help monitor the natural world? Do you enjoy communicating your passion for technology and nature with diverse audiences? We are seeking an enthusiastic...
2 February 2023
Are you stuck on an AI or ML challenge in your conservation work? Apply now for the chance to receive tailored expert advice from data scientists! Applications due 27th January 2023
18 January 2023
This position focuses on the ecology aspect of the project, while a second PhD in Ilmenau will be dealing with programming/AI development. Because of the high temporal resolution of our data, we can investigate how land...
9 January 2023
a technology-led solution to understanding the honeybees of the wasp world
8 December 2022
Five articles that include conservation tech published at Mongabay
20 October 2022
Nice overview paper on technological advances to improve insect monitoring
16 September 2022
Job opening at the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
19 August 2022
|Camera Traps, Autonomous Camera Traps for Insects||1 week 6 days ago|
|Hi there,I am also trying to get some visuals from wildlife cameras of insects visiting insect hotels. Was wondering if you had gained any further information on which cameras...||
||Autonomous Camera Traps for Insects||2 weeks 5 days ago|
|Hi Max, thanks for your reply! I'll have a look and come back to you.||
|Autonomous Camera Traps for Insects||3 weeks 5 days ago|
|Hi Tom and Alba,great comparison! From what distance did you take the images?It would be interesting to also check the respective power consumption of the cameras while recording...||
||Autonomous Camera Traps for Insects, Camera Traps||4 weeks 1 day ago|
|Would be great to hear more. We found that the lepiLED was great! The ento mini did not attract as much, but if compensated with many nights of deployment it would probably work...||
||Autonomous Camera Traps for Insects||1 month ago|
|Further to @htarold 's excellent suggestion, you can replace that entire PCB with a simple USB breakout board (e.g. USB micro attached below) by removing the red wire and...||
||Autonomous Camera Traps for Insects||1 month 2 weeks ago|
|Indeed, I'll be there too! I like to meet new conservation friends with morning runs, so I will likely organize a couple of runs, maybe one right near the conference, and...||
||Acoustic Monitoring, AI for Conservation, Autonomous Camera Traps for Insects, Camera Traps, Remote Sensing & GIS||2 months ago|
|HI, indeed as Tom mentioned, I am working here in Vermont on moth monitoring using machines with Tom and others. We have a network going from here into Canada with others. Would...||
|Autonomous Camera Traps for Insects||2 months ago|
|Hi @ShwetaMukundan,this could be interesting for you:https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/scirobotics.abb0839https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwiHf2T9bLUhttps://edition.cnn.com/2020...||
||Autonomous Camera Traps for Insects, Sensors||2 months 1 week ago|
|Thank you so much for your reply! I'll look in to this now :)||
||Acoustic Monitoring, Autonomous Camera Traps for Insects, Camera Traps, Data management and processing tools, Drones, Remote Sensing & GIS, Software and Mobile Apps||2 months 1 week ago|
|Our project in very short is, setting up a sensor network for monitoring airborne biomass, mainly insects, birds and bats in near realtime, and to develop a forecast model to be...||
||Autonomous Camera Traps for Insects, Biologging, Remote Sensing & GIS, Sensors||2 months 2 weeks ago|
|This video is so great - I don't know what I was imagining that you were building, but this is so much bigger and more involved than whatever I was vaguely thinking. Really cool...||
||Autonomous Camera Traps for Insects||3 months 2 weeks ago|
Insect camera traps for phototactic insects and diurnal pollinating insects
20 March 2023 9:39am
15 May 2023 3:07pm
We had a couple of test colours in the field for about six weeks. Some look quite good, others are nearly gone. I would recommand to do some pre-testing before you place them in the field for longer and better respay every year. However, the colours I recommanded before still look good, although I should test if they have lost some of their fluorescence.
25 May 2023 7:09am
Capture And Identify Flying Insects
30 December 2022 7:34pm
3 January 2023 1:55pm
This sounds like an interesting challenge. I think depth of focus and shutter speeds are going to be challenging. You'll need a fast shutter speed to be able to get shape images of insects in flight. Are you interested in species ID or are you more interested in abundance. having a backboard on the other side of the hotel would be a good idea to remove background clutter from your images.
19 May 2023 8:18am
I am also trying to get some visuals from wildlife cameras of insects visiting insect hotels. Was wondering if you had gained any further information on which cameras might be used for testing this?
Welcome to the Autonomous camera traps for insects group!
1 August 2022 10:52am
8 May 2023 5:59pm
My name is Peter van Lunteren and I’m a wildlife ecologist from The Netherlands. I’m not really an entomologist nor do I work much with insects - I’m just an enthusiast ;) Tom’s video on The WILDLABS Variety Hour has motivated me to join this discussion group.
I have made an open source application called EcoAssist where people can train and deploy YOLOv5 object detection models. It started out as a GUI for the MegaDetector model to filter out empty camera trap images, but evolved to become a platform where ecologists can transfer knowledge from existing models to easily train their own species classifiers.
I was wondering whether it would be possible to include an insect detection model to the application, so that people can use it as a starting point to train their own insect model. Unfortunately, though, it is limited to YOLOv5 models. Does anyone know of a YOLOv5 insect detection model?
Cheers and keep up the good work,
9 May 2023 12:19pm
EcoAssist looks really cool! It's great that you combined every step for custom model training and deployment into one application. I will take a deeper look at it asap.
Regarding YOLOv5 insect detection models:
- Bjerge et al. (2023) released a dataset with annotated insects on complex background together with three YOLOv5 models at Zenodo.
- For a DIY camera trap for automated insect monitoring, we published a dataset with annotated insects on homogeneous background (flower platform) at Roboflow Universe and at Zenodo. The available models that are trained on this dataset are converted to .blob format for deployment on the Luxonis OAK cameras. If you are interested, I could train a YOLOv5 model with your preferred parameters and input size and send it to you in PyTorch format (and/or ONNX for CPU inference) to include in your application. Of course you can also use the dataset to train the model on your own.
11 May 2023 4:59pm
Hi Max, thanks for your reply! I'll have a look and come back to you.
Testing Raspberry Pi cameras: Results
5 May 2023 5:11pm
9 May 2023 12:44pm
Hi Tom and Alba,
great comparison! From what distance did you take the images?
It would be interesting to also check the respective power consumption of the cameras while recording images and the latency (how long does it take to save the image in full resolution) on RPi 4/Zero. Also I'm wondering how the slightly improved image quality (e.g. between Pi camera 3 and IMX519) would actually affect classification accuracy during deployment. I'm pretty sure that there will be no difference regarding only detection, and the impact on classification probably depends on the differences between classes.
From some tests that I did with a YOLOv5s-cls classification model, trained on our classification dataset (only group level), I got the feeling that even significant downscaling (50%, so only half of the pixels are "kept" from the original image) will only lead to a minor decrease in classification accuracy. Of course this will depend heavily on the dataset and more classes with finer details/differences will probably be classified with a higher accuracy if you use a higher resolution of the input images.
There is definitely still a lot of potential for testing different recording hardware and its impact on automated detection/classification, especially regarding the trade-off between accuracy, speed, power consumption and disk storage.
Postdoc for image-based insect monitoring with computer vision and deep learning
9 May 2023 12:27pm
What is the best light for attracting moths?
17 October 2022 3:12pm
13 January 2023 12:33pm
We have also thought about these sorts of things. We have chosen to keep the light on continuously for the night, but turn it off before dawn to allow the moths to fly away before predators arrive.
We are going to be trying out the EntoLEDs and LepiLEDs in Panama in the last two weeks of January, I'll post here on my thoughts.
15 April 2023 9:15pm
We are testing several cheap 365 +395 nm Bright LEDs here in Panama over the next month
5 May 2023 4:59pm
Would be great to hear more. We found that the lepiLED was great! The ento mini did not attract as much, but if compensated with many nights of deployment it would probably work okay.
Hack a momentary on-off button
15 April 2023 9:21pm
21 April 2023 2:30pm
Hi @hikinghack ,
If I am understanding correctly, you want to be able to have the UV lights come on and go off at a certain time (?) and emulate the button push which actually switches them on and off? Is the momentary switch the little button at the top of the image you attached? Is it going to be cotrolled by a timer or a microcontroller at all? Sorry for all the questions, but I am not 100% clear on exactly what you are after. In the meantime, I've linked to a pretty decent tutorial on the process of hacking a momentary switch with a view to automating it with an Arduino microcontroller board, although it sort of assumes a bit of knowledge of electronics (e.g. MOSFETS/transistors) in certain places.
Alternatively, this tutorial is also good, with good explanations throughout:
If neither of these help, let me know and there might be some easier instructions I can put together.
All the best,
22 April 2023 3:04am
If I understand you correctly, you want to turn on the LEDs when USB power is applied. The easiest way I can see to do this is to reroute the red wire to USBC VBUS, via an appropriate current limiting resistor. This bypasses all the electronics in your photo.
You could insert the current limiting resistor in the USB cable for better heat dissipation, or use a DC-DC constant current source instead of a resistor if power consumption is a concern.
22 April 2023 7:45am
Further to @htarold 's excellent suggestion, you can replace that entire PCB with a simple USB breakout board (e.g. USB micro attached below) by removing the red wire and attaching it to VCC on the breakout board, and removing and attaching the black wire to GND.
SparkFun microB USB Breakout
Description Features Documents This simple board breaks out a micro-B USB connector's VCC, GND, ID, D- and D+ pins to a 0.1" pitch header. If you want to add the popular micro-B USB to your project, but don't want to put up with soldering the tiny connector, this is the board for you. 0.8 x 0.45" (20.3 x 11.4mm) [Schematic](http://cdn.sparkfun.com/datasheets/BreakoutBoards/Breakout Board for USB microB.pdf) [Eagle Files](http://cdn.sparkfun.com/datasheets/BreakoutBoards/Breakout Board for USB microB.zip) GitHubsparkfun
Camera traps, AI, and Ecology
14 April 2023 10:08am
19 April 2023 9:48am
7 June 2023 9:42am
Scaling up insect monitoring using computer vision
6 April 2023 7:06pm
Who's going to ESA in Portland this year?
31 March 2023 9:27am
4 April 2023 9:58am
That sounds great. I think you should encourage people to bring a bit of tech with them, can be a good conversation starter/ice-breaker
4 April 2023 4:04pm
Good idea! I've got a ransom assortment of different acoustic recorders I can bring along
5 April 2023 11:58pm
Indeed, I'll be there too! I like to meet new conservation friends with morning runs, so I will likely organize a couple of runs, maybe one right near the conference, and one somewhere in a nearby park where we can look for wildlife. The latter would probably be at an obscenely early hour, so we can drive somewhere, ideally see elk (there are elk within 25 minutes of Portland!), and still get back in time for the morning sessions.
Project introductions and updates
2 August 2022 11:21am
14 March 2023 1:52pm
Combining robust lighting for attracting insects with high resolution cameras, the AMI-trap can provide practical and cost-effective solutions for standardised monitoring. AMI-traps have been deployed in the UK, Canada, USA, Cyprus, Panama and Argentina, with plans to expand further.
The AMI-Trap is an iteration of the design first published by Bjerge et al 2021, and has been developed in partnership with those authors as well as researchers in Europe and North America. An open AI-process workflow has been developed at Mila (see an earlier post in this thread), which takes images from the AMI-Trap, locates and tracks individuals, and classifies individuals where possible.
AMI-traps are solar powered and run on a programmable schedule. As a result they can be left out for an entire field season to collect data, however checking every now and then to see if they are okay is recommended! The hardware has been tested underwater and in a 60C oven to unsure robustness in field conditions. The development of the AMI-Trap hardware at UKCEH, and the development of the AI, edge processing, standards and more is funded from a number of projects across the partners involved.
UKCEH can build AMI-Traps for interested researchers, funds generated are spent exclusively on supporting and developing the AMI-trap.
Find out more:
The UKCEH AMI-trap offers a platform for long-term, autonomous monitoring of moths. Combining robust lighting for attracting insects with high resolution cameras, the AMI-trap can provide practical and cost-effective solutions for standardised monitoring.CEHScienceNews
29 March 2023 6:05pm
Hi all! I'm part of a Pollinator Monitoring Program at California State University, San Marcos which was started by a colleague lecturer of mine who was interested in learning more about the efficacy of pollinator gardens. It grew to include comparing local natural habitat of the Coastal Sage Scrub and I was initially brought on board to assist with data analysis, data management, etc. We then pivoted to the idea of using camera traps and AI for insect detection in place of the in-person monitoring approach (for increasing data and adding a cool tech angle to the effort, given it is of interest to local community partners that have pollinator gardens).
The group heavily involves students as researchers, and they are instrumental to the projects. We have settled on a combination of video footage and development of deep neural networks using the cloud-hosted video track detection tool, VIAME (developed by Kitware for NOAA Fisheries originally for fish track detection). Students built our first two PICTs (low-cost camera traps), and annotated the data from our pilot study that we are currently starting the process of network development for. Here's a cool pic of the easy-to-use interface that students use when annotating data:
Figure 1: VIAME software demonstrating annotation of the track of an insect in the video (red box). Annotations are done manually to develop a neural network for the automated processing.
The goal of the group's camera trap team is develop a neural network that can track insect pollinators associated with a wide variety of plants, and to use this information to collect large datasets to better understand the pollinator occurrence and activities with local habitats. This ultimately relates to native habitat health and can be used for long-term tracking of changes in the ecosystem, with the idea that knowledge of pollinators may inform resources and conservation managers, as well as local organizations in their land use practices. We ultimately are interested in working with the Kitware folks further to not only develop a robust network (and share broadly of course!), but also to customize the data extraction from automated tracks to include automated species/species group identification and information on interaction rate by those pollinators. We would love any suggestions for appropriate proposals to apply to, as well as any information/suggestions regarding the PICT camera or suggestions on methods. We are looking to include night time data collection at some point as well and are aware the near infrared is advised, but would appreciate any thoughts/advice on that avenue as well.
We will of course post when we have more results and look forward to hearing more about all the interesting projects happening in this space!
5 April 2023 10:00pm
HI, indeed as Tom mentioned, I am working here in Vermont on moth monitoring using machines with Tom and others. We have a network going from here into Canada with others. Would love to catch up with you soon. I am away until late April, but would love to connect after that!
Hardware Lead - Biodiversity / Conservation
4 April 2023 12:54pm
Camera to follow wasps/attach on wasps
9 March 2023 5:16am
11 March 2023 2:44am
Hi @Lars_Holst_Hansen @tom_august
The link to the video is amazing. Thank you for it.
The wasps that I am working on, are solitary. So, basically it is just this one female that builds the entire nest. Like what you (@tom_august) mentioned, the best option would be to keep a running camera at the nest to record the whole process of nest building. Having one placed inside will be difficult because even if we do work out a way to have lighting inside the nest, the light might be detrimental to the developing larva inside. Hence, it is likely not to be of any benefit.
I am totally smitten by the idea of having a sensor on the wasp body to track where it goes! We could get to know how far it travels to bring the prey and also to collect soil.
14 March 2023 1:30pm
@ShwetaMukundan I just saw this thesis published on tracking bees. Maybe you could use the same method?
30 March 2023 1:14pm
this could be interesting for you:
All from this working group:
Exploring storage options for mass data collection
22 March 2023 3:20am
22 March 2023 7:36pm
I mostly live within the ecoacoustics space so I'll just speak on the hydrophone part of your request; Arbimon is a free web/cloud-based platform with unlimited storage for audio files. We've got an uploader app as well for mass-uploading lots of files. There's also a bunch of spectrogram visualization/annotation tools and analysis workflows available. It's AWS running under the hood.
I have some experience working directly with AWS & Microsoft Azure, and I've found personally that AWS was more user-friendly and intuitive for the (fairly simplistic) kinds of tasks I've done.
27 March 2023 5:23am
RECORDING Workshop on India-focused projects on insect monitoring
23 March 2023 4:24pm
Recording from our last webinar on India-focused projects on insect monitoring, where we had researchers of Indian origin or researchers working in Indian organisations present their work on insect monitoring.
Catch up with The Variety Hour: March
23 March 2023 11:09am
Monitoring airborne biomass
14 March 2023 10:30am
14 March 2023 1:34pm
Looks like you want to have a read of this thread:
Project introductions and updates | WILDLABS
Tell us about your project!If you are just starting out with autonomous camera traps for insects, or if you are a seasoned expert, this is the place to share your projects with the rest of the community. Tell us what your project is aiming to achieveWhere is it based and who is involved?If you are looking for advise or feedback be sure to make it clear what you would like to knowPlease come back once you have some results to share your successes and challenges!wildlabsnet
20 March 2023 2:44pm
Our project in very short is, setting up a sensor network for monitoring airborne biomass, mainly insects, birds and bats in near realtime, and to develop a forecast model to be used for mitigation with respect various types of human-wildlife conflicts (e.g. wind power, pesticide application, aviation). Our expertise is mainly in radar monitoring, but we aim on add insect camera information to be merged with the quantitative biomass measeurments by radar.
Workshop V: India-focused projects on insect monitoring
1 March 2023 10:00am
Tropical pilot of insect camera traps
22 February 2023 12:17pm
AMI-trap unboxing - Automated moth monitoring system
1 December 2022 9:44am
20 February 2023 4:59pm
Here is the website where you can find more info about tue AMI trap.
20 February 2023 5:29pm
This video is so great - I don't know what I was imagining that you were building, but this is so much bigger and more involved than whatever I was vaguely thinking. Really cool to see!
Side comment - could we make conservation tech unboxings a thing?
Job: Building a network of conservation tech across continents
2 February 2023 1:50pm
Solar panels in the tropics
26 January 2023 12:28am
27 January 2023 1:23pm
I'm with Akiba, you have to test. A collaborator has deployed solar-augmented kit in secondary jungle and some of them got enough light, and others didn't, so it can work. The open circuit voltage of solar panels doesn't change a whole lot in dim light, but the current drops drastically. So you would choose an oversize panel of the same voltage (or a bit higher).
27 January 2023 3:56pm
I've been intrigued by this topic. Thinking about ways you could use drones or some kind of launcher to deploy panels above the canopy. Sadly I live in the great white north so I have no way of testing any concepts. Maybe even some kind of solar balloon that could float above the canopy. Interesting design problem.
30 January 2023 10:10am
Since the output is dependent on a couple of factors such as the solar irradiance of the place, shading from the canopy, the type of solar panels (mono, poly or amorphous) and orientation of the panels, etc, I'd suggest you use a software to simulate the different parameters to get an almost accurate estimation of the output. You can try PVsyst- it has a free month trial (I haven't used it before but I hear it's great) or any other PV software :)
Apply Now: AI for Conservation Office Hours
18 January 2023 5:15pm
PhD position (m/f/d) in Insect Ecology and Conservation
9 January 2023 12:53pm
Cameras - pros and cons
21 September 2022 2:04pm
23 November 2022 2:58pm
Hi Liz, unfortunately you will still need a Raspberry Pi as host for the OAK-1 camera to reproduce our hardware setup. It's also possible to use another Linux-based system (e.g. Raspberry Pi alternatives), but I didn't test this myself and the setup process will be different to our documentation (and probably not so straightforward). I'm planning to publish the documentation website in the next weeks, but I can already send you detailed information about putting together the hardware if you are still interested.
7 December 2022 1:03am
I'm working on a light weight light trap based on Bjerge et al 2021, however I opted to use an ArduCam 64mp (9152 x 6944 resolution). Designed for the pi specifically and at $60 it checks many of your criteria. I haven't put everything together yet so I can't speak for white balance and power usage, but the autofocus appears to work well from initial tests, and it is tiny.
8 December 2022 4:06pm
Awesome! it would be great to hear how you get on, maybe you can share your results here when you have them. Is the camera only for the Pi? That could be a problem for scaling as Pis are quite hard to come by at the moment.
PhD - Sensory ecology of vespine wasps
8 December 2022 12:47pm
Metadata standards for Automated Insect Camera Traps
24 November 2022 9:49am
28 November 2022 4:37pm
I did attend the webinar and had a strong feeling that this standard will be well supported and taken up in the camera trapping community! I would also love to hear if someone has tried to use it.
30 November 2022 11:11am
I've added this to the main camera trap thread as it would be good to get thoughts from those folk too.
2 December 2022 3:58pm
Yes. I think this is really the way to go!
Easy-RIDER project Workshop IV: Pollinator monitoring recording
17 November 2022 2:39pm
In case you missed our webinar on Pollinator monitoring, here is the recording.
We had presentations from three teams who will be presenting their work in designing automated monitoring tools for flower-visiting insects, different ways for creating datasets for training machine learning algorithms for insect identification and how these new technologies can be integrated in traditional monitoring schemes. The talks were followed with a discussion session.
Implementation of video surveillance to quantify the predation rate
25 October 2022 4:26pm
3 November 2022 10:16am
We are having this problem too and it might be worthy of its own thread! The lack of RaspberryPis is a big problem and we are currently looking into alternatives. We haven't found one yet, but if we do I will let you know. @Max_Sitt might have some suggested alternatives for his system?
4 November 2022 10:54am
we are working with the Luxonis OAK-1 which can run lightweight detection models (e.g. YOLOv5n/s) directly on-device. However you will still need a host, for outdoor deployment Raspberry Pi (e.g. Zero 2 W) is perfect. But for testing you could also use another Linux-based system as host device or just connect it to e.g. your notebook. You can find more info in the Luxonis Docs.
Regarding the Raspberry Pi availability, this blog post from Jeff Geerling probably sums up the current situation pretty well. I hope in Q1 2023 the situation will get better, but at the moment nobody really knows for sure.
Workshop IV: Pollinator monitoring
21 October 2022 12:27pm
3 November 2022 8:18pm
4 November 2022 9:10am
12 April 2023 5:10pm
I will definitely link things once I start publishing. Please let me know how the different colours work for you.