Thursday, February 4, 2010

Barking at Beetles

The Ips bark beetle, shown here in a Petri dish, is barely a quarter-of-an-inch long, but this tiny killer can destroy millions of acres of trees when attacking by the thousands

The pine forests of this region have been severely threatened by bark beetles for years. Now the NAU school of forestry has a new way to combat them:

A phenomenon being dubbed Beetlemania is playing out in northern Arizona.

As can be expected, it involves rock music. But instead of screaming fans, there are cheering scientists who have found a way to drive bark beetles crazy with sound.

In a Northern Arizona University School of Forestry lab, researchers are listening to the sound of western forests under attack: the scratching, scraping, crunching of the Ips bark beetle and its cousins chewing the life out of ponderosa, pinyon and lodgepole pines.

Armed with sonic bullets, they are firing back with Rush Limbaugh, Queen, Guns N' Roses and manipulated sounds of the bugs themselves.

That's right! They're using Lush Rimbaugh as a weapon!
Kinda scary, actually...
"I thought, 'What would be the nastiest, most offensive sound?' To me, that would be Rush Limbaugh or heavy metal," McGuire said.
They blasted the beetles with Rush Limbaugh commentary played backwards.

Lush played that even legal?


hemmingforddogblog said...

Finally...a use for Rush!

Lockwood said...

Rimbaugh backwards... I'm thinking that would sound like "love your neighbors," "face life without fear," and "work together to improve the lives of everyone." Or some equally terrifying sentiments...

Greendayman said...

We had a Spruce Budworm issue here in Maine, aggresively treated with spraying. Seems to have worked and the frogs still have one head and four legs. If I was in the Maine woods and heard Rush Limpbaugh echoing through the trees... I would probably re-consider life as I know it.

BadTux said...

Reading the article, it appears that Rush Limbaugh had no effect upon the beetles. They utterly ignored him.

What does it say, I wonder, that pine bark beetles have more common sense than millions of Americans?

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin