Press release

Pollen Systems Joins Efforts to Identify and Mitigate Phylloxera

Sponsored by Businesswire

Pollen Systems ( introduces a new component to our aerial and data services to help vineyards identify, treat, and manage the spread of Phylloxera, recently rediscovered in Eastern Washington and Oregon. Pollen Systems drone-based services help farmers detect stressed areas of vineyards that are impacted by pests and diseases. In the Northern Hemisphere, late July through September is the best time to identify such issues, which may also include leaf roll and red blotch.

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A near infrared image of a Phylloxera outbreak. (Photo: Business Wire)

A near infrared image of a Phylloxera outbreak. (Photo: Business Wire)

Phylloxera is a very small louse that lives on and eats the roots of grapevines. It can infest a vineyard through soil movement from an infected area or naturally spread from vineyard-to-vineyard by proximity. Phylloxera, while eventually fatal to vines, does not kill plants immediately, taking time to spread and to cause vine decline. Once a vineyard finds out about infestation by investigating stressed areas to detect poor vigor, they can apply sanitation protocols, precision agriculture and management methodologies to slow the process.

“Flying our drones equipped with near infrared cameras at under 400 feet provides extremely high-resolution images of vineyards,” said Keith McCall, Founder and CTO of Pollen Systems. “We turn around results within 48 hours, and then help customers use the images and ground truthing to detect issues in their vines.”

By using drones for scouting issues, Pollen Systems cuts the high labor cost and time for detection of pests and disease by up to 90%. For instance, a drone flyover over 100 acres takes less than an hour while it could take days to inspect by hand.

“We used the Pollen NDVI and NDRE near infrared images to identify areas of variable stress that have led us to discover Phylloxera in our vineyards. The stress detected in the imagery is not always seen through scouting and sometimes the vines appear healthy to the naked eye,” said an Eastern Washington vineyard manager who wished to remain anonymous. “This early detection through imagery will allow us to slow the spread and implement potential treatments earlier than had we waited for obvious decline.”

For further information regarding vineyard management best practices, please consult the Washington Winegrowers Best Management Practices for Harvest document (see about preventing the spread of pests. To schedule a flyover or request additional information, please contact Pollen Systems at (888) POLLEN 8 or send an email to

About the Company

Pollen Systems Corporation, a Delaware C Corporation based in Bellevue, WA, aggregates agricultural data from multiple data sources and applies advanced analytics to devise solutions for farms to enable them to flourish and grow. Augmented by a sophisticated drone platform, we quickly and accurately scan plots of land with multispectral crop scouting techniques and provide advanced farming analysis to inform and instruct farmers. Pollen Systems improves crop vigor, quality, and yield while reducing labor costs, irrigation, and pests and diseases.