The insect-o-graph is a laboratory milling device developed by USDA Ag Research Service scientists and an industry cooperator to improve stored grain management by detecting internal insects in wheat that aren't visible to the eye or can't be detected by usual grading methods. Tracking insect infestations in stored grain is important to ensuring grain quality. Insect colonies can multiply rapidly over weeks or months - consuming and damaging grain as they grow. The insect damage reduces the grain's value.
Electrical conductance signals monitor wheat as it's milled. When a seed containing an insect is crushed - an electrical spike occurs. The software counts the number of insects in a kilogram sample. It can estimate the number of live insects hidden in a one-kilogram grain sample in about a minute. It can detect levels of infestation as low as five to 10 infested seeds out of 30,000 good seeds.
National Manufacturing, Inc. of Lincoln, Nebraska built the device based on ARS-developed technology.