Submitted to: Pest Management Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2010
Publication Date: 2/2/2011
Citation: Boiteau, G., Vincent, C., Meloche, F., Leskey, T.C., Colpitts, B. 2011. Harmonic radar: efficacy at detecting and recovering insects on agricultural host plants. Pest Management Science. 67(2):213-219. Interpretive Summary: Harmonic radar systems offer the potential to track the movement of insect pests under natural conditions. Using a portable harmonic radar system and tags that are mounted vertically on the insect body, we attempted to track Colorado potato beetle within and among potato plants, plum curculios within apple trees, and Western corn rootworms within and around corn plants. We were able to detect insects at a high enough rate such that we could map the walking path of each of the insects in their environment, particularly if a simple scanning procedure was used with the harmonic radar unit. Our results indicate that this approach will prove to be a valuable method for understanding how insects move into agroecosystems and colonize host plants.
Technical Abstract: BACKGROUND: In pest management research, harmonic radar systems have been largely used to study insect movement across open or vegetation poor areas, because the microwave signal is attenuated by the high water content of vegetation. This study aimed at determining whether the efficacy of the technology is sufficient to track insects within and among host plants. RESULTS: Field efficacy data were collected using portable harmonic microwave radar and electronic dipole tags mounted on adults of three economically important pests: Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say), Diabrotica virginifera virginifera (LeComte), and Conotrachelus nenuphar Herbst. The detection and recovery of tagged Colorado potato beetles was high within and among potato plants. The detection and recovery of plum curculios was moderate within apple trees. The detection and recovery of Western corn rootworms was high within but not between corn plants. The efficacy of the radar depends on the ability of the operator to move around the host scanning for a signal “sightline” with the tagged insect among plant structures. CONCLUSION: The detection rate of tagged insect pests by harmonic radar systems is high enough to track the walking path of insect pests through low row crop such as potato, tall row crop such as corn, or tall but well separated trees of orchard type crops by simply adapting the scanning procedure to the architecture of the vegetation.