Acoustic stress may disrupt insects, even cause them to kill each other - By Jennifer Viegas
Beetles don't like heavy metal or Rush Limbaugh, suggests new research, but the sounds that really drive them mad are manipulated versions of their own noises.
Beetles are destroying ponderosa, pinyon, lodgepole pines and other trees important to the ecosystem. The beetles have their place in the ecosystem too, of course, but climate change and human activities have allowed beetles to take over more than they should.
To combat such infestations, scientists thought up the "nastiest, most offensive sounds" they could. Those included recordings of Guns & Roses, Queen, Rush Limbaugh and manipulated versions of the insects' own sounds.
The scientists then played these recordings near beetle-infested trees that they brought into a lab setting. The sounds disrupted tunneling, mating and reproduction for the beetles, making it harder for the insects to eat through the trees.
The project, dubbed "Beetle Mania," concluded that acoustic stress may disrupt the tenacious insects' feeding and even cause the beetles to kill each other, according to a presentation recently at the National Meeting of the Entomological Society of America.