Hope for endangered US forests – beetles songs

 

 

Beetles have decimated millions of trees throughout the U.S.

Beetles have decimated millions of trees throughout the U.S.

That’s not a type on the title. Northern Arizona University researchers may have found a way to deter tree eating bark beetles from devastating forests. 

 

Nearly 80 million ponderosa, piñon and lodgepole pines in Arizona and New Mexico and tens of millions more across the West have been killed by ravenous bark beetles over the past decade. This has left ugly scars throughout our forests, weakened the surrounding ecosystem and heightened wildfire danger.

Pine Beetle infested forests.2NAU’s School of Forestry has been working to find a viable, earth-friendly solution. Researcher Reagan McGuire suggested utilizing sound to aggravate the relentless pests. After rock music and snippets of radio talk show personality Rush Limbaugh played backward failed to deter them, the beetles were exposed to digitally altered recordings of their own calls.

The beetles immediately stopped mating or burrowing. Some fled.  Others violently attacked each other.All of them stopped chewing away at the pine tree.

Pine Beetle infested forests“Our interest is to use acoustic sounds that make beetles uncomfortable and not want to be in that environment,” said NAU forest entomologist Richard Hofstetter, who led the experiment nicknamed, without apology, “beetle mania.”

More research needs to be done and the lab will seek funding to continue this potentially forest saving  experiment into acoustic pest control. It’s hoped this could get into the field in the near future.

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