"You can hear one insect larvae feeding in a grain kernel. It's actually quite loud when you amplify it," said entomologist Jim Throne.

He is one of the Kansas State University researchers now exploring new ways of finding the insects that eat billion of dollars of U.S. grain producers' profits every year.

The K-State scientists are placing microphones on cables inside grain bins to listen for munching critters.

They hope their findings, combined with some computer analysis, will someday help storage managers determine how many insects are in a bin--as well as the best methods for eliminating the pests, Throne said.

U.S. growers annually produce about 10 billion bushels of corn and 2 billion bushels of wheat, valued together at about $30 billion of raw commodity.

Industry analysts estimate 5 to 10%--about $1 to 3 billion worth--of that harvest is now lost to insects.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.