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A New Device Can Identify Particular Insects Through Subtle Differences In Vibration

February 9th, 2018

A New Device Can Identify Particular Insects Through Subtle Differences In Vibration

Can you tell the difference between the vibrations that are produced when an ant crawls and the vibrations that are produced when a termite crawls? Of course there is no way that any human could sense these excessively subtle vibrations. However, this may not necessarily be true, as one expert has developed a method of recording the vibrations that are created when insects take steps. No two insect species will produce the same vibrations. Apparently, insects create their own unique vibrations when they crawl. An entomologist has recently developed a non-invasive tool that can determine which insects are present in a particular area. This tool makes visual confirmations unnecessary when identifying invading insects hiding within a house.

A man working for the Agricultural Research Service Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology’s Post-Harvest and Bioregulation Research Unit, has developed a computer program that can discern between different vibrations produced by different moving insects. The computer is connected to a sensor that measures the vibrations of insects while they are foraging. This tool can be placed into the ground like a stake, or it can be clipped to a plant stem. The sensory tool is delicate enough to discern between the vibrations that are produced by moving termites, root weevils, ants, boxelder bugs and any other type of insect that you can conjur. Mankin can now listen to vibrations and immediately tell you which type of insect is moving. Mankin has also developed a computer program that allows him to distinguish between larval movement and background noises, such as blowing leaves. Sometimes this program can distinguish between two different insects, which occurs when the program attempts to match a new vibration with an old one. Mankin’s next goal is to develop a device that can accurately pinpoint the locations of infestations within structures.

Do you believe that this technology could differentiate between the vibrations produced by two termites of different species?

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