Is artificial bark beetle noise a silver bullet?

Except at great expense and on a small scale, insecticides, logging or pheromone traps haven’t touched this beetle epidemic that extends from the Yukon to New Mexico.  Here is some thinking outside the box that might work. Of course, it too might only work over small areas.

Researchers turn up the noise to battle bark beetles. By Judith Kohler. Associated Press

Related. Gov. Brian Schweitzer: Pine beetle problem is here to stay. AP

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is past President of the Western Watersheds Project.

5 Responses to Researchers turn up the noise to battle bark beetles

  1. avatar Virginia says:

    This is a unique idea – however, most of the Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming is dead/dying – 2.4 million acres. My question would be – how will this work in these huge areas? Also, the Shoshone has allocated $40mm to fight the pine bark beetle – are they going to be open to spending that on sound? Call me a skeptic.

  2. avatar Nature rules says:

    I saw this on our local AZ news last week. Problem is they have no idea how to implement it. If they figure that out great! How do they get the sound to the trees? Speakers will not work, and what effect does this have on other animals if they do it that way. Seems far fetched to me…

  3. There are some animals that will benefit from the die-off of large tracts of trees. I see many places when I travel that would support bighorn populations if the trees were gone. In Alberta, bighorns have moved into areas cleared of trees for coal mining and prospered.
    In many ways, thick stands of lodgepoles are more like suffocating weeds than great habitat for wildlife. We tend to look at the world with our primate eyes and brains and think that trees are always wonderful.

  4. avatar Rick Hammel says:

    There are two issues that come to mind; sound pressure level (SPL) and frequency. SPL is measured in decibles and at what level is it effective? At what level does the sound need to be to pierce the bark of the tree? What is the level that can be attained without injury to othe species? And for how long is this SPL level needed to achieve rresults?

    There are a lot of questions to be asked and answered to make this project successful. But I think it can be acheved. Large scale implementation could be difficult without injuring other spacies.


  5. avatar Si'vet says:

    Ralph, do you recall back in the late 60’s when the forest service was hiring high school kids to spray a mixture of diesel fuel and pesticides on the log pole pine in the Island Park area? No respirators, no goggles and jersey gloves, spraying overhead. They sprayed for several summers didn’t even slow the beetles down.


February 2010


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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