Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/31/2006
Publication Date: 9/20/2006
Citation: Mankin, R.W. 2006. Increase in acoustic detectability of Plodia interpunctella larvae after low-engergy microwave radar exposure. Florida Entomologist. 89:416-418. Interpretive Summary: Insect pests living in stored commodities are often difficult to detect. Scientists at the Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology, Gainesville, FL have tested a radar device for its capability to detect hidden infestations of insects in stored products. The instrument was unable to detect small numbers of larvae of the Indian meal moth, an important pest, but exposure to the microwaves elicited activity that made them easier to detect acoustically. This may be of utility in development of new devices as tools for integrated pest management of insects in warehouses, supermarkets, and department stores.
Technical Abstract: P. interpunctella larvae are important pests of stored products that are difficult to detect by currently available nondestructive techniques. In this report, a Termatrac device was evaluated as a means of larval detection, and a study also was conducted to evaluate whether the low-power microwave radiation affected the larval activity level and its acoustic detectability. High levels of radiation are known to produce lethal thermal heating. The low-power radiation in this study produced a small, but statistically significant increase in the rate of sounds by larvae that initially were inactive. The results suggest that higher power radar or a longer duration of exposure might have potential as a treatment to increase the acoustic detectability of hidden infestations of P. interpunctella larvae and other stored product pests.