It's widely known that the self-righteous voice of conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh is enough to irritate the pants off of liberals and hippies from Burlington to Berkley, but two scientists at Northern Arizona University are using Limbaugh's squawk to annoy a different type of nuisance: beetles.
We would have suggested a sobbing Glenn Beck, but that's just us.
Bark beetles are destroying forests all over the western United States, and in a method they're calling "beetle-mania," NAU Professor Richard Hofstetter and truck-driver-turned-research assistant Reagan McGuire began using Limbaugh's voice, as well as music, to try and get the beetles to relocate.
McGuire was a truck driver until hearing reports that bark beetles had killed about 74 million trees in Arizona and New Mexico and wondered if there was a way to "fight back using acoustic stress."
McGuire took his suggestion to Hofstetter, who liked the idea and set him up in his lab, compelling McGuire to put his truck-driving days behind him.
The two began collecting infested tree stumps last fall and started using Guns 'N' Roses and Queen songs to see if the beetles would respond and leave the area they were destroying.
As if the nasally drone of Axl Rose or the shrieking fury of Freddy Mercury weren't enough, the two started playing the beetles some of Rush Limbaugh's radio show, too.
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"I thought, 'What would be the nastiest, most offensive sound?' To me, that would be Rush Limbaugh or heavy metal," McGuire says in a statement provided to New Times by NAU.
Not satisfied with the results Limbaugh or Queen were producing, McGuire and Hofstetter started using sounds made by the beetles against them.
"We could use a particular aggression call that would make the beetles move away from the sound as if they were avoiding another beetle. Or we could make our beetle sounds louder and stronger than that of a male beetle calling to a female, which would make the female beetle reject the male and go toward our speaker," Hofstetter says. "We found we could disrupt mating, tunneling and reproduction. We could even make the beetles turn on each other, which normally they would not do."
At the moment, bark beetles are hibernating, but when they wake up, McGuire and Hofstetter will be waiting with new sonic methods of telling the beetles to take a hike -- again, we'd recommend giving a sniffling Glenn Beck a try.