Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/19/2011
Publication Date: 6/30/2011
Citation: Sanders, W., Mankin, R.W., Liburd, O., Stelinski, L. 2011. Acoustic detection of arthropod infestation of grape roots: scouting for grape root borer (Lepidoptera:Sesiidae). Florida Entomologist. 94:296-302. Interpretive Summary: Scientists at the Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology, and the University of Florida, collected and analyzed sounds produced by the grape root borer moth larvae in the root systems of grapevines in Florida vineyards. The larvae cut off nutrients to the grape vines and reduce their productivity or kill them. The larvae are difficult to find because they hide in the root systems. This study demonstrated, however, that their movement and feeding sounds can be detected by sensors placed near the root systems, and this method of detection may prove useful in protecting vineyards from this important pest.
Technical Abstract: Grape root borer, Vitacea polistiformis (Harris), is the key pest of grapes in Florida. Chlorpyrifos is the only chemical registered in Florida for control, but it is not an ideal control tool because it is highly toxic to birds, fish, aquatic invertebrates, and honeybees, and its recommended timing of treatment conflicts with harvest dates. An effective cultural control, mounding, exists but is currently cost prohibitive for commercial production and is not widely used. If treatment could be applied only to infested plants, cost of this control method would be considerably reduced. This study evaluated a potential monitoring procedure for detecting the larvae of grape root borer in-situ. Experimenters and computer software assessed likelihood of arthropod infestation for each site based on the acoustic samples, and the root systems were excavated to determine infestation level. Infestation likelihood predictions of both human listeners and computer software largely reflected infestation condition of tested sites. Consequently, acoustic methods could be developed as tools for growers to employ mounding only at sites most likely to be infested and enable the use of mounding as a more cost-effective cultural control against V. polistiformis.