Posted: Feb 15, 2010 7:07 AM by Associated Press
Researchers are launching an acoustic counterattack against the beetles that have ravaged millions of acres of trees across the West.
The tiny insects make squeaking noises as they tunnel through trees and now a team at Northern Arizona University is using the beetles' own communication against them. The researchers have been manipulating the beetle sounds and playing them back to the insects.
Assistant forestry professor Richard Hofstetter says that's driven the insects buggy. They attack each other, scamper in circles rather than straight lines and have tried to gnaw their way through Plexiglas.
Researchers are drawing on work by New Mexico composer David Dunn, who inserts a microphone into trees to record the noises.