German company introduces new detection system for grain beetle larva

by Teresa Acklin
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   BAD VILBEL, GERMANY — Grain loss from beetle infestation has been estimated at about 2% annually, resulting in substantial cost to the industry. To combat infestation, the German company NIR-Service has introduced a new method of detecting beetle larva in the grain.

   The Larva Sound Detector can detect infestation long before the grain is hollowed out and the larva starts to eat, said Wolfgang Weinard of NIR-Service.

   The adult grain beetle can be detected by sieving the grain, but it has been difficult to detect the larva, Mr. Weinard said. The female beetle drills a hole into the grain to lay its eggs. Once it leaves the egg, the larva begins to eat the inside of the grain.

   The hollowed out grain will float in water, signifying larva infestation. But the Larva Sound Detector is the first instrument to detect larva before the grain is hollowed out, Mr. Weinard said. “The eating sound can be heard just as the larva leaves the egg,” he said. “The sound noise level is so low that without technical assistance it cannot be heard by the human ear.”

   Consisting of a special microphone, a high-quality amplifier and a set of earphones, the Larva Sound Detector allows the user to detect larva infestation at an early stage. The microphone can be placed into the upper layer of a flat storage silo or into a basket or bag holding a grain sample.