Weak Microwave Signals Increase Activity Levels and Acoustic Detectability of Indian Meal Moth Larvae
Mentor: Richard Mankin
Abstract: Hidden infestations of stored product insect larvae are detected most rapidly by acoustic techniques when the larvae are highly active. A microwave radar tracking system was used in an attempt to stimulate Plodia interpunctella larvae into increased activity that could be more easily detected by an acoustic sensor. Dog biscuits were artificially infested with 3rd or 4th instar larvae, placed on a piezoelectric microphone, and exposed to three minutes of weak (100 milliwatt) microwave stimulation in a reflective container. Acoustic recordings were taken before and after stimulation as well as after ten additional minutes. There was a significant increase in the average sound rate immediately after stimulation which continued up through the ten-minute wait period. A possible explanation for these results is that the microwaves increase the biscuits temperature and therefore increase larval activity levels.
Daniel is putting an insect into a shielded container to begin the process of stimulating it with microwaves and acoustically recording the activity.