Bio-acoustic Pest Management

By Dr. Abdul Rauf

The search for environmentally safe and non-toxic pest management techniques has given many innovative methodologies. With the development of new agricultural technologies, bio-acoustics technology has developed as a new tool of pest management. Bio-acoustics is the branch of science dealing with the sounds produced of living organisms. It includes the production, reception of the bio-acoustic signal and their effects on other organisms of same or different species. Some insect species have specialised structures to produce and receive the sound signals. These sound signals are used in various communication like calling, aggressive, frightening and courtship behaviour. Insects produce mainly three types of sounds to communicate i.e., sonic, ultrasonic and subsonic as in gryllus, catydids and termites respectively. Human being can hear in a range of frequencies varying from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. The sounds of this frequency range are called the ‘sonic range’. The sound signals above 20 kHz frequency are called ‘ultrasonic’ and below 20 Hz frequency are called ‘subsonic’.

Bio-acoustic technology is considered safe, environment friendly and is being used to control pests in agriculture and public health. The bio-acoustic sound signals have been used to trap, repel and interrupt the communication within the pest species. This eco-friendly technology is being used as a part of IPM in public health pest management, agriculture and precision farming.

Bio-acoustic pest management has been practiced in many countries since long. The effects of the bio-acoustic sometimes vary with the environmental conditions like humidity, temperature and background noise. The price of bio-acoustic equipment makes the cost of control treatment high. Bio-acoustic signals have limited range and weaken with distance as compared to pheromone signals used by insects in communication. Bio-acoustic technology has a potential to be included in Integrated Pest Management program. More researches are required to make it an effective tool of IPM.

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