Entomologist Jim Fisher uses a portable acoustic
detector. Click the image for more information about it.
story to find out more.
Listening for Weevils in Nursery
Crops By David
March 31, 2004
A new, lightweight device that can magnify the noises of tiny,
black vine weevils will be an asset to nursery growers.
Service scientists working with Acoustic Emission Consulting (AEC) of Fair Oaks, Calif., have made
improvements to AEC's machines that can detect insects by the sounds they make.
The new device is lighter and more durable and won't pick up distracting
noises. The biggest advantage may be that this system, unlike other models,
does not need a professional technician to operate it.
The nursery industry is big business in the United States,
especially in Oregon where it's worth more than $600 million annually. But the
black vine weevil continues to threaten many nursery crops. More than $3
million is spent each year to control these pests, because of strict quarantine
regulations that require plant inspectors to reject shipments of nursery crops
from other states if just one weevil is found. The new device will allow
inspectors to search 15-25 plant pots an hour, compared to five to eight pots
The instrument was refined and tested by entomologist James R.
Fisher of the ARS
Crops Research Laboratory in Corvallis, Ore., and Richard W. Mankin, an ARS
entomologist at the agency's Center for
Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology in Gainesville, Fla.
To use the device, the listener wears headphones and sticks a
wandlike device on a very large nail that has been placed in the root ball of
the plant in the soil. The listener holds a small, computerlike device that
amplifies and measures the sound. The weevil makes a distinctive noise while
traveling through the soil.
More information about this research is in the April 2004 issue
of Agricultural Research magazine.
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.