Source: AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE submitted to
ACOUSTICAL DETECTION AND CONTROL OF FIRE ANTS AND TERMITES
Sponsoring Institution
Agricultural Research Service/USDA
Project Status
TERMINATED
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
0404459
Grant No.
(N/A)
Project No.
6402-22320-002-00D
Proposal No.
(N/A)
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
(N/A)
Project Start Date
Apr 1, 2001
Project End Date
Mar 7, 2006
Grant Year
(N/A)
Project Director
STREETT D A
Recipient Organization
AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE
(N/A)
STONEVILLE,MS 38776
Performing Department
(N/A)
Non Technical Summary
(N/A)
Animal Health Component
50%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
50%
Applied
50%
Developmental
0%
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
2163110113050%
2166099113050%
Goals / Objectives
The objective of this reseach project will be to investigate acoustical communication among imported fire ants both within colonies and between colonies, and how the ants respond to acoustical vibration both in the air and in the soil, and to develop an acoustical monitoring tool for detection of termites and other subterranean arthropods.
Project Methods
Acoustical apparatuses will be constructed to detect unseen infestations of insects. Devices will be based on recognition of sound-producing activities. Recognition will be developed from databases of sounds recorded under an array of substrates and environmental conditions. Earlier research by the National Center for Physical Acoustics (NCPA) has shown that the black imported fire ant produces stridulatory sounds by gaster flagging. We also know that ants have chrdotonal organs on the legs that are sensitive to vibrations in the substrate. The NCPA has developed a micro electro=technique, and a sensitive acoustical sensor array for detecting vibrations from small insects. With an understanding of the acoustical responses from IFA we may be able to develop 1) a nonchemical acoustical barrier; 2) a technique for surveying fire ant populations; or 3) a novel technique for their destruction.

Progress 04/01/01 to 03/07/06

Outputs
Progress Report 1. What major problem or issue is being resolved and how are you resolving it (summarize project aims and objectives)? How serious is the problem? Why does it matter? The objective of this project is to utilize acoustics to detect, monitor and control pest infestations, primarily imported fire ants and termites. Early detection of termite infestations will help to reduce damage and loss. Behavioral responses of imported fire ants to an acoustical signal will allow us to develop a technique for surveying and monitoring fire ant populations, or to develop a novel non-chemical technique for control. Formosan termites are causing serious damage in cities along the Gulf Coast region, and imported fire ants are a major pest in fifteen states. These pests are estimated to cost over one billion dollars each year in the United States. This program, which combines regional programs and integrated pest management to develop novel strategies for the control of imported fire ants, falls primarily within Component 4 (Control Technology) of NP 104, with some aspects that fall within Components 2 (Detection and Surveillance Technology) and 3 (Biology and Physiology). The project includes elements of 2.1 (Detection and Diagnostics), 3.2 (Physiology, Anatomy, and Biochemistry), 4.1 (Chemical Pesticides and Repellents), and 4.2 (Biological Control). Additional details can be found in subordinate project 6402-22320-002-02S entitled, "Acoustics Detection of Pests in Crops, Structures, Trees, and Soils," and the subordinate project 6402-22320-002-01S entitled, "Acoustical Communication by Imported Fire Ants". This is a final report. 2. List by year the currently approved milestones (indicators of research progress) Year 1 (FY 2002) 1. Analyze stridulatory sounds produced by major and minor workers of the black imported fire ant to identify potential frequencies with some behavioral context. 2. Stridulatory sounds identified with a behavioral context will be generated with a signal generator in the presence of ants under lab and field conditions and the behavioral responses recorded. Year 2 (FY 2003) 3. Identify wingbeat frequencies produced by alate reproductives of black and hybrid imported fire ants with a low frequency microphone. 4. Wingbeat frequencies for male and female alates of black and hybrid imported fire ants will be analyzed to identify potential frequencies for further study. Year 3 (FY 2004) 5. Identify wingbeat frequencies produced by alate reproductives of red imported fire ants with a low frequency microphone. 6. Wingbeat frequencies for male and female alates of red imported fire ants will be analyzed to identify potential frequencies for further study. Year 4 (FY 2005) 7. Assess wingbeat frequencies produced by black imported fire ant alate reproductives using a high speed camera. 8. Analyze wingbeat frequencies produced by black imported fire ants using a high speed camera. 9. Improvements in construction of a portable acoustic monitor for detection of termites in trees were made allowing more rapid inspection of urban forest trees. 10. Improved filtration of acoustic signals allowed for greater amplification of termite signals thereby improving the performance of the sensors. Year 5 (FY 2006) 11. Identify sound directionality of the wing beat frequencies produced by black and hybrid imported fire ants. 12. Analyze sound directionality of the wing beat frequencies for black imported fire ants using a series of microphones surrounding alate reproductives. 13. Lab study to assess the effects of sound excitation of ants in an effort to increase production of phorid flies, a biological control agent of ants. 4b List other significant research accomplishment(s), if any. Among the key results from this study were that the sound patterns recorded were consistent with those of an acoustic dipole source, with a significant component of the sound production appearing in the ultrasonic bandwidth (10000-40000 Hz). 4d Progress report. This report serves to document research conducted under a Specific Cooperative Agreement between ARS and the National Center for Physical Acoustics, University of Mississippi. Research on head-banging in the Formosan (FST) and Native Subterranean (Reticulitermes flavipes) (Rf) termite continued this year with high-speed video observations. Using a high-speed video camera at 10,000 frames per second we correlated the sound produced with the visual observation. In both species the prothorax was raised by using the body with little contribution from the legs. The head impact with the substrate occurs evenly over the ventral surface. Rf raises its head higher than FST. Both species often display head rebounding where after the original impact the head rebounds one to three times adding to the sounds produced. With the high-speed video we have calculated the head acceleration and velocity for both species. Rf has much higher values for both acceleration and velocity compared to FST. We can differentiate the termite species based on the head banging patterns. A termite acoustic incubator was designed and developed to simulate soil temperatures from 0 - 1 m depth in New Orleans City Park in order to determine seasonal activity variations caused by temperature. A four- inch diameter PVC pipe contained 4 wood inserts and 4 solid-state controlled heating pads placed at intervals along the pipe. Each wood insert had an acoustic waveguide connected to an accelerometer so that chewing vibrations and relative activity at the 4 zones could be detected without disturbing the termites. Despite extensive testing and modification the controllers could not accurately maintain temperatures at desired levels. We are currently modifying the design to provide improved temperature control. A novel device for the detection of termite vibrations within structural walls is being contstructed and is expected to be completed and tested in the laboratory in FY 2007. This device should provide improved speed and accuracy of termite detection within infested walls. Extensive programming has been accomplished this year in LabView that allows one software program for recording and analyzing data from all acoustic sensors. We currently have efficient routines for recording data in the field and laboratory that also couples metadata with acoustic wave files. The operator can add any additional data he wants to this metadata. We are currently working on the software routines for analysis of data recorded. We are currently evaluating additional equipment for recording directly in the field at optimal sampling rates and with flat-field response at all frequencies. We have also delivered additional termite detection probes to collaborators in New Orleans for use in discovering termite infestations in structures and trees. We evaluated software for detecting termite sounds. This software is an audio retrieval system originally designed to search the web and other databases for desired sounds. We tested this with short clips of male and female singers and with termite head-banging sounds. The program was in general extremely unsatisfactory for grouping sounds and termite head banging sounds could not be distinguished from other percussive sounds. 5. Describe the major accomplishments to date and their predicted or actual impact. A field-portable acoustic probe was co-developed by research engineers at the National Center for Physical Acoustics and research entomologists at the USDA-ARS, Southern Regional Research Center, for the purpose of inspecting trees non-invasively for hidden termite infestations. A total of twelve probes were fabricated, tested and delivered to entomologists at the USDA-ARS-SRRC in New Orleans, Louisiana. Improved signal amplification and filtration has improved the performance of the devices to reduce background noise. The devices have had a significant impact in the early detection and subsequent monitoring of concealed Formosan and native subterranean termites in trees. Wingbeat frequencies were analyzed to identify harmonic and fundamental frequencies using a low frequency microphone. Red Imported fire ant winged males had a mean fundamental wingbeat frequency of 127 Hz and red imported fire ant winged females had a mean fundamental wingbeat frequency of 118 Hz. Black imported fire ant reproductives had significantly lower fundamental wingbeat frequencies, with a mean frequency of 113 Hz for winged males and a mean wingbeat frequency of 103 Hz for winged females. Hybrids of the black and red imported fire ant exist and hybrid males had a mean fundamental wingbeat frequency of 107 Hz versus a mean fundamental frequency of 105 Hz for hybrid females. Greater than 2,500 trees in City Park of New Orleans have been inspected using both the acoustic probes and traditional visual inspection methods as of July 2004, with a total of 40% of the tree species infested with termite colonies. Acoustic detection was required in 78% of these trees in order to determine the presence of termite colonies. Knowledge of the infested trees will allow for future placements of monitoring traps and the introduction of chemical baits to kill the termite colonies. Of even greater significance is the current employment of the acoustic probes for inspecting trees that are located in the courtyards of the historic French Quarter in New Orleans, in direct support of the Operation Full Stop program. These trees have proven to be a source of termite colonies in the past, but inspection was limited to visual methods only. Field efforts to date have resulted in the detection of many hidden termite colonies, both Formosan and native. The fundamental wingbeat frequencies produced by black imported fire ant alate reproductives were examined in greater detail using a high speed camera and the high-sensitivity microphone array to compare with the earlier low frequency microphone studies. Among the key results from this study were that the sound patterns recorded were consistent with those of an acoustic dipole source, with a significant component of the sound production appearing in the ultrasonic bandwidth (10,000-40,000 Hz). 7. List your most important publications in the popular press and presentations to organizations and articles written about your work. (NOTE: List your peer reviewed publications below). 1) Gui, L., J. M. Seiner, D.A. Streett, R. D. Hasse, and M. Mathias. 2005. An Image Tracking Technique for Quantifying Motion of Black Imported Fire Ants on a Planar Surface. Proc. Imported Fire Ant Conference, pp. 123-129. AD 115 Log # 0000180473

Impacts
(N/A)

Publications

  • MWANGI, E., HASSE, R., LEE, P., LAGO, P., BUCHHOLZ, R., STREETT, D.A. RESPONSES OF INDIVIDUAL FIRE ANTS (SOLENOPSIS RICHTERI FOREL) TO VIBRATIONAL STIMULATION. PROCEEDINGS OF BOUYOCOUS CONFERENCE. AGROACOUSTICS 4TH SYMPOSIUM. 2002. P. 159-174.


Progress 10/01/04 to 09/30/05

Outputs
1. What major problem or issue is being resolved and how are you resolving it (summarize project aims and objectives)? How serious is the problem? What does it matter? The objective of this project is to utilize acoustics to detect, monitor and control pest infestations, primarily imported fire ants and termites. Early detection of termite infestations will help to reduce damage and loss. Behavioral responses of imported fire ants to an acoustical signal will allow us to develop a technique for surveying and monitoring fire ant populations, or to develop a novel non-chemical technique for control. Formosan termites are causing serious damage in cities along the Gulf Coast region, and imported fire ants are a major pest in fifteen states. These pests are estimated to cost over one billion dollars each year in the United States. This program, which combines regional programs and integrated pest management to develop novel strategies for the control of imported fire ants, falls primarily within Component 4 (Control Technology) of NP 104, with some aspects that fall within Components 2 (Detection and Surveillance Technology) and 3 (Biology and Physiology). The project includes elements of 2.1 (Detection and Diagnostics), 3.2 (Physiology, Anatomy, and Biochemistry), 4.1 (Chemical Pesticides and Repellents), and 4.2 (Biological Control). Additional details can be found in subordinate project 6402-22320-002-02S entitled, Acoustics Detection of Pests in Crops, Structures, Trees, and Soils, and the subordinate research project 6402-22320-002-01S entitled, Acoustical Communication by Imported Fire Ants 2. List the milestones (indicators of progress) from your Project Plan. Year 1 (FY 2002) Analyze stridulatory sounds produce by major and minor workers of the black imported fire ant to identify potential frequencies with some behavioral context. Stridulatory sounds identified with a behavioral context will be generated with a signal generator in the presence of ants under lab and field conditions and the behavioral responses recorded. Year 2 (FY 2003) Identify wingbeat frequencies produced by alate reproductives of black and hybrid imported fire ants with a low frequency microphone. Analyze wingbeat frequencies for male and female alates of black and hybrid imported fire ants which will be analyzed to identify potential frequencies for further study. Year 3 (FY 2004) Identify wingbeat frequencies produced by alate reproductives of red imported fire ants with a low frequency microphone. Analyze wingbeat frequencies for male and female alates of red imported fire ants which will be analyzed to identify potential frequencies for further study. Year 4 (FY 2005) Assess wingbeat frequencies produced by black imported fire ant alate reproductives using a high speed camera. Analyze wingbeat frequencies produced by black imported fire ants using a high speed camera Improvements in construction of a portable acoustic monitor for detection of termites in trees were made allowing more rapid inspection of urban forest trees. Improved filtration of acoustic signals allowed for greater amplification of termite signals thereby improving the performance of the sensors. Year 5 (FY 2006) Identify sound directionality of the wing beat frequencies produced by black and hybrid imported fire ants. Analyze sound directionality of the wing beat frequencies for black imported fire ants using a series of microphones surrounding alate reproductives. Lab study to assess the effects of sound excitation of ants in an effort to increase production of phorid flies, a biological control agent of ants. 3a List the milestones that were scheduled to be addressed in FY 2005. For each milestone, indicate the status: fully met, substantially met, or not met. If not met, why. 1. Wingbeat frequencies produced by alate reproductives of the red imported fire ants were recorded with a low frequency microphone. Milestone Substantially Met 2. Wingbeat frequencies for male and female alates of red imported fire ants were analyzed to identify harmonic and fundamental frequencies. Milestone Substantially Met 3. Improvements in amplification and signal processing of a portable acoustic monitor for detection of termites were made providing for greater signal and reduced interference from background noise interference. Milestone Substantially Met 4. Improved filtration of acoustic signals allowed for greater amplification of termite signals thereby improving the performance of the sensors. Milestone Substantially Met 3b List the milestones that you expect to address over the next 3 years (FY 2006, 2007, and 2008). What do you expect to accomplish, year by year, over the next 3 years under each milestone? Year 5 (FY 2006) Sound directionality of the wing beat frequencies produced by black and hybrid imported fire ants will be identified. Sound directionality of the wing beat frequencies for black imported fire ants will be determined using a series pf microphones surrounding alate reproductives. Lab study will be conducted to assess the effects of sound excitation using impeders to cause fire ants in a phorid fly rearing facility to disperse for the purpose of increasing the production of phorid flies, a biological control agent of ants. Determine effective range of existing and improved probes to determine spatial requirements for thorough inspections. Develop/procure inexpensive sensors for permanent placement at regular intervals within structures and determine required spacing for such placement. Transfer of acoustic sensor technology to pest control operators for detection of termites in buildings and trees is expected. 4a What was the single most significant accomplishment this past year? A field-portable acoustic probe was co-developed by research engineers at the National Center for Physical Acoustics and research entomologists at the USDA-ARS, Southern Regional Research Center, for the purpose of inspecting trees non-invasively for hidden termite infestations. A total of twelve probes were fabricated, tested and delivered to entomologists at the USDA-ARS-SRRC in New Orleans, Louisiana. Improved signal amplification and filtration has improved the performance of the devices to reduce background noise. The devices have had a significant impact in the early detection and subsequent monitoring of concealed Formosan and native subterranean termites in trees. 4b List other significant accomplishments, if any. Wing-beat frequencies: A publication is now being prepared on the wing- beat frequencies research begun in 2003 and continued in 2004. Field data has also been collected this summer of male and female BIFA alates taking off from grass blades from natural mounds in the field. No structure was placed over the mounds. These recordings of wing-beat frequencies recorded in the field will be compared to laboratory recordings. Vibrational Studies: An image tracking technique similar to particle image velocimetry (PIV) was used to quantify motion of ants on a planar surface after BIFA ants were stimulated to move by substrate vibrations at 466 Hz at five different amplitudes. While many of the ants responded immediately to the vibration by moving, this movement was rapidly attenuated. Stridulation studies: The Center for Sound Communication, Institute of Biology, University of Southern Denmark, visited the laboratory in May and June 2005 and conducted detailed studies on BIFA and RIFA. Studies included recordings of stridulation using 14 B&K microphones model 4939 and portable laser Doppler vibrometers (Polytech model PDV-100, and Ometron model 8336). High-speed video images (3000 to 6000 frames per second) synchronized with recorded waveforms of the produced sounds/vibrations were analysed for abdominal movement/position versus waveform. Small, medium and large workers and male and female alates were studied in detail for both species of fire ants. Specimens recorded were saved individually for later microscopical study (light and scanning electron microscopy). Conduction of vibrations through the soil and legs of the fire ant were also studied. We hope to have the data completely analysed by the winter/early spring and then prepare a publication for a refereed journal. Stereo High-Speed Imaging of Alates of BIFA and RIFA: An improved high- speed video system has been developed for analyzing wing movement and associated wing-beat frequencies. Phorid Flies/BIFA interactions: A local dense population of Pseudacteon curvatus has been found this summer near Holly Springs National Forest parasitizing BIFA. We hope to begin shortly high speed videography and correlated sound studies of Phorid fly/BIFA interactions. At this point it may be possible to do this in a natural field situation. 4c List any significant activities that support special target populations. Greater than 2500 trees in City Park of New Orleans have been inspected using both the acoustic probes and traditional visual inspection methods as of July 2004, with a total of 40% of the tree species infested with termite colonies. Acoustic detection was required in 78% of these trees in order to determine the presence of termite colonies. Knowledge of the infested trees will allow for future placements of monitoring traps and the introduction of chemical baits to kill the termite colonies. Of even greater significance is the current employment of the acoustic probes for inspecting trees that are located in the courtyards of the historic French Quarter in New Orleans, in direct support of the Operation Full Stop program. These trees have proven to be a source of termite colonies in the past, but inspection was limited to visual methods only. Field efforts to date have resulted in the detection of many hidden termite colonies, both Formosan and native. 4d Progress report. This report serves to document research conducted under a Specific Cooperative Agreement, 6402-22320-002-02S, between ARS and the National Center for Physical Acoustics, University of Mississippi. Additional details of the research can be found in the parent research project 6402- 22320-002-00D. A field-portable acoustic probe was co-developed by research engineers at the National Center for Physical Acoustics and research entomologists at the USDA-ARS, Southern Regional Research Center, for the purpose of non-invasively inspecting trees and structures for hidden termite infestations. A total of twelve probes were fabricated, tested and delivered to entomologists at the USDA-ARS-SRRC in New Orleans, Louisiana, and scientists trained in their use. The acoustic probes are also being used for inspection of trees in New Orleans French Quarter to guide termite treatment programs in an ongoing area-wide termite management program. Previously unknown infestations of trees in the French Quarter were detectable only with the use of the acoustic device. Further, the probes are being used to determine termite infestation within trees in New Orleans City Park prior to the implementation of control measures. Additionally, the probes are being used by research collaborators to detect unknown infestations of termites. Improved amplification and filtration of acoustic signals to reduce background signals and increase sensitivity were accomplished. 5. Describe the major accomplishments over the life of the project, including their predicted or actual impact. New software has been developed which allows us to collect real-time data from up to 32 microphones at sampling rates of 96,000 samples/second, and the ability to synchronize these acoustic recordings with a high speed (10,000 fps) video camera has been demonstrated. A large (20-cm diameter) acoustic array has been constructed, which allows simultaneous measurements from 16-microphones. This array has been designed so that precise rotations of array allows for non-simultaneous sampling at a much higher resolution that previously permitted. 6. What science and/or technologies have been transferred and to whom? When is the science and/or technology likely to become available to the end- user (industry, farmer, other scientists)? What are the constraints, if known, to the adoption and durability of the technology products? The acoustic probe is being used by collaborators in Operation Full Stop to discover hidden termite infestations. We expect further refinements in the instrument and increased use by members of the pest control industry in the coming years as increased awareness of its capabilities are made through public meetings. Improved sensors and reduced costs should contribute to adoption of the technology. 7. List your most important publications in the popular press and presentations to organizations and articles written about your work. (NOTE: List your peer reviewed publications below). Mwangi, E., Hasse, R., Lago, P., Buchholz, R., Streett, D.A. 2004. Stimulation of Black Imported fire Ants (Solenopsis richteri Forel) Using Substrate-Borne Vibrations and the Effects of The Parasitism of Host Ants by Attacking Phorid Flies (Pseudacteon curvatus Borgmeier). Proc. Imported Fire Ant Conference. pp. 59-64. AD 115 Log #:0000165281

Impacts
(N/A)

Publications

  • MWANGI, E., HASSE, R., LEE, P., LAGO, P., BUCHHOLZ, R., STREETT, D.A. RESPONSES OF INDIVIDUAL FIRE ANTS (SOLENOPSIS RICHTERI FOREL) TO VIBRATIONAL STIMULATION. PROCEEDINGS OF BOUYOCOUS CONFERENCE. AGROACOUSTICS 4TH SYMPOSIUM. 2002. P. 159-174.


Progress 10/01/03 to 09/30/04

Outputs
1. What major problem or issue is being resolved and how are you resolving it (summarize project aims and objectives)? How serious is the problem? What does it matter? The objective of this project is to utilize acoustics to detect, monitor and control pest infestations, primarily imported fire ants and termites. Early detection of termite infestations will help to reduce damage and loss. Behavioral responses of imported fire ants to an acoustical signal will allow us to develop a technique for surveying and monitoring fire ant populations, or to develop a novel non-chemical technique for control. Formosan termites are causing serious damage in cities along the Gulf Coast region, and imported fire ants are a major pest in fifteen states. These pests are estimated to cost over one billion dollars each year in the United States. This program, which combines regional programs and integrated pest management to develop novel strategies for the control of imported fire ants, falls primarily within Component 4 (Control Technology) of NP 104, with some aspects that fall within Components 2 (Detection and Surveillance Technology) and 3 (Biology and Physiology). The project includes elements of 2.1 (Detection and Diagnostics), 3.2 (Physiology, Anatomy, and Biochemistry), 4.1 (Chemical Pesticides and Repellents), and 4.2 (Biological Control). Additional details can be found in subordinate project 6402-22320-002-02S, "Acoustics Detection of Pests in Crops, Structures, Trees, and Soils," and the subordinate CRIS project 6402- 22320-002-01S, "Acoustical Communication by Imported Fire Ants." 2. List the milestones (indicators of progress) from your Project Plan. Year 1 (FY 2002) Analyze stridulatory sounds produced by major and minor workers of the black imported fire ant to identify potential frequencies with some behavioral context. Stridulatory sounds identified with a behavioral context will be generated with a signal generator in the presence of ants under lab and field conditions and the behavioral responses recorded. Year 2 (FY 2003) Identify wingbeat frequencies produced by alate reproductives of black and hybrid imported fire ants with a low frequency microphone. Analyze wingbeat frequencies for male and female alates of black and hybrid imported fire ants will be analyzed to identify potential frequencies for further study. Year 3 (FY 2004) Identify wingbeat frequencies produced by alate reproductives of red imported fire ants with a low frequency microphone. Analyze wingbeat frequencies for male and female alates of red imported fire ants will be analyzed to identify potential frequencies for further study. Year 4 (FY 2005) Assess wingbeat frequencies produced by black imported fire ant alate reproductives using a high speed camera. Analyze wingbeat frequencies produced by black imported fire ants using a high speed camera. Improvements in construction of a portable acoustic monitor for detection of termites in trees were made allowing more rapid inspection of urban forest trees. Improved filtration of acoustic signals allowed for greater amplification of termite signals, thereby improving the performance of the sensors. Lab study will be initiated to assess the effect of sound excitation of ants in effort to increase production of phorid flies, a biological control agent of ants. Year 5 (FY 2006) Identify sound directionality of the wingbeat frequencies produced by black and hybrid imported fire ants. Analyze sound directionality of the wingbeat frequencies for black imported fire ants using a series of microphones surrounding alate reproductives. Lab study will be completed to assess the effects of sound excitation of ants in an effort to increase production of phorid flies, a biological control agent of ants. FY 2007 This is an out year for the project. 3. Milestones: A. List the milestones that were scheduled to be addressed in FY 2004. How many milestones did you fully or substantially meet in FY 2004 and indicate which ones were not fully or substantially met, briefly explain why not, and your plans to do so. The milestones listed below were scheduled to be completed in Year 3. All of the milestones were completed. Wingbeat frequencies produced by alate reproductives of the red imported fire ants were recorded with a low frequency microphone. Wingbeat frequencies for male and female alates of red imported fire ants were analyzed to identify harmonic and fundamental frequencies. Improvements in construction of a portable acoustic monitor for detection of termites in trees were made allowing more rapid inspection of urban forest trees. Improved filtration of acoustic signals allowed for greater amplification of termite signals, thereby improving the performance of the sensors. B. List the milestones (from the list in Question #2) that you expect to address over the next 3 years (FY 2005, 2006, & 2007). What do you expect to accomplish, year by year, over the next 3 years under each milestone? Year 4 (FY 2005) The wingbeat frequencies produced by black imported fire ant alate reproductives will be determined using a high speed camera. These wingbeat frequencies will be compared with the results from the microphone studies. Determine wingbeat frequencies produced by black imported fire ants using a high speed camera and the high-sensitivity microphone array. Improvements in sensor sensitivity and improved placement within structures for detection of termites is anticipated. Determine effective range of existing and improved probes to determine spatial requirements for thorough inspections. Develop/procure inexpensive sensors for permanent placement at regular intervals within structures and determine required spacing for such placement. Year 5 (FY 2006) Sound directionality of the wingbeat frequencies produced by black and hybrid imported fire ants will be identified. Sound directionality of the wingbeat frequencies for black imported fire ants will be determined using a series of microphones surrounding alate reproductives. Lab study will be conducted to assess the effects of sound excitation using impeders to cause fire ants in a phorid fly rearing facility to disperse for the purpose of increasing the production of phorid flies, a biological control agent of ants. Transfer of acoustic sensor technology to pest control operators for detection of termites in buildings and trees is expected. FY 2007 This is an out year for the project. 4. What were the most significant accomplishments this past year? A field-portable acoustic probe was co-developed by research engineers at the National Center for Physical Acoustics (NCPA) and research entomologists at the USDA-ARS, Southern Regional Research Center (SRRC), for the purpose of inspecting trees non-invasively for hidden termite infestations. A total of five probes were fabricated, tested and delivered to entomologists at the USDA-ARS-SRRC in New Orleans, Louisiana, as of March 2004, with training provided by NCPA personnel. The devices have had a significant impact in the early detection and subsequent monitoring of concealed Formosan and native subterranean termites in trees. A. Single most significant accomplishment during FY 2004 (one per Research (OOD) Project): An in-depth follow-up study to the FY 2003 measurements of sound produced by the wingbeat of black imported fire ants was conducted at the NCPA. The frequency spectra and directivity pattern of sounds produced by the wingbeats of black imported fire ant alatess was studied using two separate microphone arrays, in conjunction with the high-speed camera. The first array was comprised of a 10-cm diameter ring with 8 microphone positions. For these measurements, 7 B&K 4191 microphones and one B&K 4190 microphone were used. The second array was comprised of a 19.6-cm diameter ring with 16 B&K 4191 microphone arrays. The ring was constructed so as to allow much finer resolution angular measurements. The highest resolution data collected so far has been from an effective spacing of about 5.6 degrees or a total of 64 angular positions. In all measurments, the ant was measured in both front and side profiles. The data were recorded using MOTU 828mkii fire-wire audio interfaces, and the sampling rate was 96,000 samples/second, which permitted a maximum detectable frequency of nearly 50,000 Hz. Time-domain signals for recording periods of 30-60 seconds were recorded for later analysis. Simultaneous measurements were taken using a high-speed (10,000 frames/second) video camera. The position of the wings could be located relative to the acoustic signal to 1/10000-s accuracy using the simultaneously recorded synchronization signals produced by the video camera. Among the key results from this study were that a significant component of the sound production by the wing beat was in the high- frequency/ultra-sound region (10000-40000 Hz). It is believed that this component is due to the break up of vortices generated by the wing motion. This discovery is particularly ultrasound detection in the far field can occur via viscous drag effects. (A followup study measuring the ultrasound-component of fire-ant stridulation is planned for FY 2005.) Secondly, the pattern (angular distribution) of sound measured by the arrays indicates a strong dipole component. The detailed frequency spectra and directivity patterns can be used in improved acoustic trap. If sound perception is important for fire ant communication, these measurements may also shed light in the reproductive behavior of the ant, a critical area to be understood for purposes of insect control. B. Other significant accomplishment(s), if any. Vibrational Studies. The behavior response of fire ants to substrate vibrations was determined to be 0.78 m/s2 over the frequency range 40, 3000 Hz. A study was performed at the USDA-ARS in Starkville, MS, to assess the potential impact on attacking phorid fly parasitization/pupation rates in tubs shaken periodically at predetermined rates. Although the results were inconclusive, a number of confounding factors were identified, and an improved shaker is being constructed for use in FY 2005. Chemical Studies. Acetone was found to be a sexually dependent excitant for male alates of black imported fire ants. It is thought that this may be related to the presence of the carbonyl (C=O) group in acetone, which is also present in natural pheromones. C. Significant activities that support special target populations. Greater than 2,500 trees in City Park of New Orleans have been inspected using both the acoustic probes and traditional visual inspection methods as of July 2004, with a total of 40% of the tree species infested with termite colonies. Acoustic detection was required in 78% of these trees in order to determine the presence of termite colonies. Knowledge of the infested trees will allow for future placements of monitoring traps and the introduction of chemical baits to kill the termite colonies. Of even greater significance is the current employment of the acoustic probes for inspecting trees that are located in the courtyards of the historic French Quarter in New Orleans, in direct support of the Operation Full-Stop Program. These trees have proven to be a source of termite colonies in the past, but inspection was limited to visual methods only. Field efforts to date have resulted in the detection of many hidden termite colonies, both Formosan and native. D. Progress Report opportunity to submit additional programmatic information to your Area Office and NPS (optional for all in-house ("D") projects and the projects listed in Appendix A; mandatory for all other subordinate projects). 5. Describe the major accomplishments over the life of the project, including their predicted or actual impact. New software has been developed which allows us to collect real-time data from up to 32 microphones at sampling rates of 96,000 samples/second, and the ability to synchronize these acoustic recordings with a high speed (10,000 fps) video camera has been demonstrated. A large (20-cm diameter) acoustic array has been constructed, which allows simultaneous measurements from 16-microphones. This array has been designed so that precise rotations of array allows for non-simultaneous sampling at a much higher resolution than previously permitted. 6. What science and/or technologies have been transferred and to whom? When is the science and/or technology likely to become available to the end- user (industry, farmer, other scientists)? What are the constraints, if known, to the adoption and durability of the technology products? FY 2004: An invention disclosure has been filed with the University of Mississippi for a fire-ant trap, and a potential commercial partner has been identified for development of this technology. With the introduction of the acoustic probe, personnel affiliated with the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, New Orleans Mosquito and Termite Control Board (NOMTCB), and Louisiana Department of Forestry and Agriculture (LDAF) are conducting separate field tests with the probes to determine both efficacy of the device in the field and in order to make suggestions for future improvements to the existing technology. These organizations have a strong interest in seeing this non-invasive inspection tool developed further so that a commercial device is available in the near future.

Impacts
(N/A)

Publications

  • MWANGI, E., HASSE, R., LEE, P., LAGO, P., BUCHHOLZ, R., STREETT, D.A. RESPONSES OF INDIVIDUAL FIRE ANTS (SOLENOPSIS RICHTERI FOREL) TO VIBRATIONAL STIMULATION. PROCEEDINGS OF BOUYOCOUS CONFERENCE. AGROACOUSTICS 4TH SYMPOSIUM. 2002. P. 159-174.


Progress 10/01/02 to 09/30/03

Outputs
1. What major problem or issue is being resolved and how are you resolving it? The objective of this project is to utilize acoustics to detect, monitor and control pest infestations, primarily imported fire ants and termites. Early detection of termite infestations will help to reduce damage and loss. Behavioral responses of imported fire ants to an acoustical signal will allow us to develop a technique for surveying and monitoring fire ant populations, or to develop a novel non-chemical technique for control. 2. How serious is the problem? Why does it matter? Formosan termites are causing serious damage in cities along the Gulf Coast region, and imported fire ants are a major pest in fifteen states. These pests are estimated to cost over one billion dollars each year in the United States. 3. How does it relate to the National Program(s) and National Program Component(s) to which it has been assigned? This project supports National Program 104 "Veterinary, Medical and Urban Entomology" within the program component of control technology. This in- house parent project serves to document research conducted under two specific cooperative agreements between the ARS and University of Mississippi, National Center for Physical Acoustics. Additional details can be found in subordinate project 6402-22320-002-02S entitled "Acoustics Detection of Pests in Crops, Structures, Trees, and Soils" and the subordinate CRIS project 6402-22320-002-01S entitled "Acoustical Communication by Imported Fire Ants" 4. What were the most significant accomplishments this past year? A. Improvements to termite acoustic detection were made through adoption of more sensitive detectors and improved filtering of the acoustic signal. Software was developed to assist with analysis of the acoustic signals. Field testing using the prototype has demonstrated the ability to detect termites in both structures and trees and to help assess effectiveness of termite control treatments. B. Experiments were performed at the National Center for Physical Acoustics to determine the effects of substrate vibrations on the behavior of black imported fire ants. Work was conducted to determine whether vibrational stimulation of fire ants could be used to increase the production phorid flies, a biological control agent being released in Mississippi. Results from the study have not been analyzed at this time. C. None 5. Describe the major accomplishments over the life of the project, including their predicted or actual impact. Major accomplishment is the development of a sensitive acoustic detection device that can be used to determine the presence and help pinpoint locations of active termites. The impact of this accomplishment should be earlier detection and more effective treatment of termite infestations that result in less damage to structures and more effective termite control. 6. What do you expect to accomplish, year by year, over the next 3 years? In FY2004 we will continue to improve sensitivity of the instrument and software analysis to increase the distance over which the termites can be detected. The improved devices will be used in conjunction with infrared inspections to pinpoint locations of termite activity within structures to guide placement of termite control treatments. Work will be continued on vibrational stimulation of ants to increase phorid fly production, and on the wingbeat frequencies of male and female ants. In FY2005 we will use the technology to guide treatments of infested living trees and to assess the effects of those treatments. Work will continue on the wingbeat frequencies of fire ants and field trials will be conducted to assess any novel control strategies. In FY2006 we expect pest control professionals to use acoustic technology to assist with placement of termite control treatments within structures. Promising control strategies will be evaluated in a regional project to manage imported fire ants.

Impacts
(N/A)

Publications

  • MWANGI, E., HASSE, R., LEE, P., LAGO, P., BUCHHOLZ, R., STREETT, D.A. RESPONSES OF INDIVIDUAL FIRE ANTS (SOLENOPSIS RICHTERI FOREL) TO VIBRATIONAL STIMULATION. PROCEEDINGS OF BOUYOCOUS CONFERENCE. AGROACOUSTICS 4TH SYMPOSIUM. 2002. P. 159-174.