A new approach to acoustic insect detection in grain storage
Insect pests in grain storages can cause severe financial losses. Infested grain needs to be treated and can be sold only with lower profit. Intense infestation can lead to contamination with mycotoxins and total loss of stock. Therefore, an early detection of insect storage pests is of great importance to farmers and storage keepers but is difficult to obtain in large amounts of grain. Besides conventional detection methods such as insect traps and monitoring of temperature and relative humidity, acoustic monitoring can identify insect infestation. Insects in grain and other stored products produce sounds at a low level during movement and feeding activity. A new acoustic system was developed as part of the project “InsectTap” to increase the detectability of insect sounds. Highly sensitive microphones were installed inside a metal tube that increased the surface on which beetle signals could be detected. Additionally, the tube worked as a beetle trap recording all sounds from even one single beetle inside the trap. The tube system was tested in 1 and 8 m³ boxes filled with wheat. Infestation could be detected at a very early stage about 8 weeks before a temperature rise, or beetles at the grain surface indicated an infestation. In the next step, this “Beetle Sound Tube”-System will be installed in different grain silos aiming for automatic early detection and specific identification of infestation. The information provided to the farmer or storage keeper allows early and specific treatment to reduce losses. Additionally, the introduction of parasitoids via the tube system will be tested to increase the efficacy of biological control.