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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #251592

Title: Recent developments in the use of acoustic sensors and signal processing tools to target early infestations of red palm weevil (Coleopter: Curculionidae) in agricultural environments

item Mankin, Richard

Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/24/2011
Publication Date: 12/1/2011
Citation: Mankin, R.W. 2011. Recent developments in the use of acoustic sensors and signal processing tools to target early infestations of red palm weevil in agricultural environments. Florida Entomologist. 94(4):761-765.

Interpretive Summary: Scientists at the Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology in Gainesville Florida have developed acoustic instruments and signal processing software that detect red palm weevil and other hidden pests in economically important trees and distinguish the sounds produced by these insects from birds, wind, road noise, and other nontarget sounds. This report describes the methods used to distinguish the insect sounds. It has been found that analysis of the patterns of moving and chewing can help distinguish insect sounds from background more reliably than previously used analyses that relied primarily on the comparisons of frequencies alone. The enhanced capability to detect insect pests hidden in trees can assist orchard landscape managers in reducing economic damage.

Technical Abstract: Much of the damage caused by red palm weevil larvae to date palms, ornamental palms, and palm offshoots could be mitigated by early detection and treatment of infestations. Acoustic technology has potential to enable early detection, but the short, high-frequency sound impulses produced by red palm weevil larvae can be difficult to distinguish from certain similar sounds produced by other insects or small animals, or by wind-induced tapping noises. Considerable research has been conducted to develop instruments and signal processing software that selectively amplify insect-produced sounds and identify signal features that distinguish sounds produced by a particular target insect from those produced by other causes. Progress has been made in identifying unique spectral and temporal patterns in the sounds produced by larvae during movement and feeding activities. This report describes some of the new instrumentation and signal analyses available for early, reliable detection of red palm weevil larvae in groves and greenhouses.