Decision support systems have been developed for risk analysis and management of root-feeding white grubs (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Melolonthinae) in Queensland, Australia, sugarcane (Saccharum spp.), based partly on manual inspection of soil samples. Acoustic technology was considered as a potential alternative to this laborious procedure. Field surveys were conducted to detect the major pests Dermolepida albohirtum (Waterhouse) near Mackay, and Antitrogus parvulus Britton near Bundaberg. Computer analyses were developed to identify distinctive scrapes and other sounds produced by D. albohirtum and Antitrogus species and to distinguish them from sounds of nondamaging white grubs (Rutelinae, Dynastinae), as well as from extraneous, wind-induced tapping signals. Procedures were considered for incorporating acoustic methods into surveys and sequential sampling plans. Digging up and inspecting sugarcane root systems requires 10–12 min per sample, but acoustic assessments can be obtained in 3–5 min, so labor and time could be reduced by beginning the surveys with acoustic sampling. In a typical survey conducted in a field with low population densities, sampling might terminate quickly after five negative acoustic samples, establishing a desired precision level of 0.25 but avoiding the effort of excavating and inspecting empty samples. With a high population density, sampling might terminate also if signals were detected in five samples, in which case it would be beneficial to excavate the samples and count the white grubs. In intermediate populations, it might be necessary to collect up to 20 samples to achieve desired precision, and acoustic methods could help determine which samples would be best to excavate.
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Vol. 102 • No. 4