Could Sound Waves Replace Most Conventional Pesticides?


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In another study, published in January in the journal Naturwissenschaften, scientists looked at possible ways that nature could influence the populations of crop pests. These researchers noticed that, for example, the grapevine moth is greatly affected by climate change; a warmer area increases the moth’s predators. Researchers in France collected and measured moth larvae from vineyards in six regions of France. They analyzed the larvae, including any parasites that they might be carrying. These researchers from the University of Burgundy and the National Institute for Agricultural Research found that larvae from southern areas had more parasites than those in northern regions. Larvae that had more parasites had more immune activity, as one might imagine,  caused these larvae to grow more slowly, if at all. Researchers imagine that natural parasites might be yet another answer to pest control.

These studies come at an important time when pollinators’ levels are crashing throughout the world, due in part to the toxic effect of chemical pesticides. Evidence that neonicotinoids are devastating the bee populations all over the world is now conclusive and authors of this review warned that the threat that is posed by these toxic chemicals is equivalent to the threat of an old pesticide called DDT, once used everywhere, now banned in almost all countries.

As for those little electronic devices you see on television, well, studies done in independent research done by the Canadian EPA showed that although these devices did deter rodents initially, they eventually adapted and became immune to the sound. Roaches were found to do nothing more than move around more, but they didn’t leave the area (researchers did note, however, that they could use the devices to drive the roaches towards glue traps rather successfully.)


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Should you see one of these devices claiming that they can deter mosquitoes, just be warned: an entomologist who chairs the advisory board of the Dutch Malaria Foundation, Bart Knols, found that there was no scientific evidence that any ultrasound device repels mosquitoes. In a review article published in 2010, examined 10 field studies and found that no ultrasound device had any effect whatsoever when it came to repelling mosquitoes or lessening mosquito bites.

One device in particular, a ladybug shaped device that was designed to be clipped onto a baby’s crib or stroller, was singled out as a real cause for concern, as parents might not protect their infants thinking that these devices were keeping mosquitoes off of their babies. This device is still for sale all over Europe and the UK, but has been withdrawn from US markets.


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