Innovative radar of Israeli scientists will help in the fight against insects

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 Innovative radar of Israeli scientists will help in the fight against insects

The University of Haifa has installed an innovative radar near Hula Lake that will help estimate the number of insects in the skies over Israel. This unique device will allow researchers to assess the density, direction and speed of migration, body size of insects and factors affecting their reproduction. “This is the only radar capable of providing us with comprehensive information about the movement of insects in the air,” — noted Professor Nir Sapir from the Department of Evolutionary and Ecological Biology. According to him, the radar will allow identifying insects that damage agriculture. For example, in Israel, they are concerned about the activity of a species of moth that recently migrated to the country from South America. This species is one of the most harmful in the world and causes damage to more than 350 plant species. Maize suffers most from the larvae of the grass armyworm. “We started using radar to understand the movement of these butterflies as a first step to controlling their distribution. The unique feature of insect radar is that it emits a very narrow beam, capable of concentrating a large amount of energy in a limited area, along with a vertical beam directed upwards to prevent reflection from the environment, — noted the professor. Using variables such as size, flight speed, wing movement patterns and body shape obtained from the new radar, scientists plan to identify groups of insects, and then specific species, in order to be able to control their reproduction and distribution throughout the country in the future.

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