2013 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
1. Record vibrations produced by red palm weevil (RPW), Rhynchophorus ferrugineus, in Saudi Arabian date palms, and identify signal features of greatest utility for distinguishing RPW sounds from typical background noises.
2. Analyze sounds produced in different species and in different parts of palms trees at different levels of infestation to consider ways of using acoustic detection methods to estimate RPW population levels within trees.
3. New hypotheses will be developed and tested jointly with colleagues about the best methods for detecting and eliminating RPW populations both in Saudi Arabia and in Caribbean areas from which there is now a threat of RPW invading southern Florida and southern California.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
These studies will be conducted with Saudi Arabian Ministry of Agriculture and University colleagues who will identify locations where the RPW are likely to occur and who will participate in the signal recording and analysis process. The colleagues will obtain corroborative physical samples from the palm trees. Saudi Arabia has locales with both high and low RPW density which will facilitate data collection and comparative analyses.
This research relates directly to Objective 2. Detection and attraction: Develop chemical and acoustic detection and attraction systems for pest species and natural enemies: specifically develop trapping systems using floral-derived volatiles to monitor and/or eliminate pest populations and monitor dispersal of augmented parasitoids, detect acoustic signals produced by cryptic/hidden pests for targeted control, and improve detection efficiency through automation.
The funding for this project was received only recently, and the primary effort until now has been in setting up the details of where the testing will be conducted in Saudi Arabia and in preparing an announcement for hiring of a postdoctoral associate. In addition, preliminary studies have been conducted which indicate that first instars can be detected by sensors located within about 0.5 m of the feeding larvae.