Successful test of anti-insect Laser fence?
Since 2005, Florida citrus growers have been plagued by a disease affect their trees called citrus greening disease, or huanglongbing. The disease, which has dramatically impacted the state's citrus production, is carried by two species of psyllid, a flying sap-sucking insect.
To protect the groves, the company Intellectual Ventures has developed a technology originally intended to control malaria-carrying mosquitoes - an array of lasers that zap the psyllids out of the air.
Hear me out.
The array is called the Photonic Fence, and uses cameras to identify only the target pest - psyllids in this case. Any psyllid within the laser's 30 m horizontal or 3 m vertical range is subject to a burst of laser light that heats the psyllid up just enough to kill it.
According to the article:
This summer in Florida, the Photonic Fence will initially be tested against psyllids released inside a screen house, an enclosure of fine mesh used to protect trees from pests. After that, and tests to prove it can avoid targeting bees, the device will be used to replace one wall of a screen house and get its first shot at wild psyllids. Makagon wants to then use several devices to make a perimeter around a block of citrus trees.
Will the Photonic Fence prove its effectiveness?
This question will resolve as positive if prior to October 15 2018, a credible news story or corporate press release from Intellectual Ventures states that a test, similar to that described above with a single wall open to the outside, and successfully excluded psyllids from the test grove. (If a fraction is reported, it should correspond to more than 90% of psyllids being killed between entry and when they are able to land on a plant, or some comparable level of success – i.e. like US missile defense, and occasional success is helpful but not really what's desired.)
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