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Disruptive effects of non-specific airborne and substrate-borne vibrations on aphids
Journal of Pest Science  (IF5.918),  Pub Date : 2021-09-13, DOI: 10.1007/s10340-021-01425-9
Parent, Jean-Philippe, Laidlaw, Ryan, Abram, Paul K.

Insects are known to be negatively impacted by noise from anthropogenic sources. Recently, pest control methods have been developed using specific airborne (sound) and substrate-borne vibratory signals. However, there is limited information available on the effects of non-specific vibrations on pest insects, especially those not known to use sound or vibration for communication. Here, we tested whether non-specific substrate-borne or airborne vibrations (white noise) cause reductions in the number of aphids of three species on single plants in short-term (24 h) laboratory trials. Substrate-borne vibrations transmitted through the host plant reduced total numbers of all three species (45 to 62% reductions in total aphid numbers), while airborne vibrations played through speakers had no detectable effect. The effect of substrate-borne vibrations on aphid numbers appeared to be mostly due to inducing aphids to leave the plant, rather than reducing the reproductive output of remaining aphids. To our knowledge, our results provide the first proof-of-concept indicating that non-specific substrate-borne vibrations can affect pests not known to use vibrations to communicate and should be explored further as a physical pest control method. Future research in this area is needed to investigate longer-term effects of non-specific vibrations on pests, their host plants, and their natural enemies.