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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 #276582

Title: Applications of acoustics in insect pest management

item Mankin, Richard

Submitted to: CAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/5/2011
Publication Date: 1/9/2012
Citation: Mankin, R.W. 2012. Applications of acoustics in insect pest management. CAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources. 7:001.

Interpretive Summary: Scientists at the USDA ARS Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology, Gainesville, FL, have explored ways to trap insects that are attracted to sounds and vibrations, including mosquitoes and stink bugs pests. Mosquitoes are important vectors of diseases like malaria and yellow fever. Stink bugs recently grown in importance now that BT-corn and cotton have enabled reductions in the use of pesticides on many crops. A better understanding of the mechanisms and evolution of mosquito and stink bug vibrational and acoustical communication may lead to improved methods of trapping these insects or interfering with their mating or social interactions.

Technical Abstract: Acoustic technology has been applied for many years in studies of insect communication and in the monitoring of calling-insect population levels, geographic distributions, and diversity, as well as in the detection of cryptic insects in soil, wood, container crops, and stored products. Acoustic devices of various sizes and power levels have been used successfully to trap insect pests that exhibit phonotaxis, including mosquitoes, midges, mole crickets, field crickets, moths, cockroaches, and Tephritid fruit flies. The attractiveness of traps depends on the behavior and biology of the target insect, varying over time and over different segments of the population. Widespread adoption of acoustics for trapping has been limited by the costs of instrumentation and the relatively small segments of insect populations (e.g., swarming male adult mosquitoes) that are attracted to a sound source, but trapping effectiveness often can be improved by adding swarm markers, chemical attractants, or black lights, and by precisely timing temporal patterns to match the natural communication signals. There remains potential for using ultrasonic bat-cry signals to disrupt behavior of night-flying insects, but ultrasonic signals have little effect on insects that are not normally preyed upon by bats. Potential areas of growth in the use of acoustic technology in pest management include the production of signals that disrupt vibrational communication, particularly in the Hemiptera, and the development of control treatments that combine pheromones and patterned sonic or vibrational signals.