What does the Bible teach about locusts
With power grids against voracious locusts
Frithjof Voss looks like a parachutist who carries his umbrella the wrong way round. Because the retired geography professor has hung a package in front of his stomach: a rectangular device. The apparatus is wired to an aluminum grid that the researcher is holding in his hands. The device is switched on. And Frithjof Voss strides through the garden of the Berlin Institute for Geography to simulate operations in the tropics and subtropics:
As I now walk over the rice fields, over the grasslands, over the corn fields, over the vegetable crops, I touch the vegetation with the lower edge of the grid. And the grasshoppers, the locusts - hence the name - now jump vertically upwards, touch the grid and die in milliseconds.
Because the grid is live. The package on the belly is an electric generator that uses a trick to convert 12-volt direct voltage into high voltage. Locusts have very poorly conductive chitin armor. The tanks only offer no protection at a voltage of 7000-8000 volts. The pests die in a flash from a short circuit:
So far only chemicals have helped against locusts. The sprayed nerve paralysis poison slowly eats its way into the locust's body and makes it die in agony. In addition, chemical residues remain in the vegetation, in the soil and in the water. They also represent a health risk for humans. And then there is the time factor: It often takes days and weeks, especially in developing countries, until chemical control begins. The harvest is already badly damaged or lost. Not so with the electric method:
So in a few minutes the whole thing can be used immediately. And the small farmer, who has only leased or owns one or two hectares anyway, can very effectively begin the control measures immediately after the attack. He cannot, of course, control the whole plague, but he can protect himself.
And that without high costs. Larger farms can mount a four meter span on the muzzle loader of a tractor.
It is still unclear whether domestic pests such as the wheat gall flies and the pollen beetle react to the vibrations and sound waves of an electric grid with the same vertical jumps as the grasshoppers typical of America, Africa and Asia. Tinkerer Voss has already built a universal prototype that can be set up in fields or hung in trees: an electrical grid in a cylindrical shape, the size of a coffee can. He also wants to use it to combat domestic pests such as the pea moth and leaf miner. The leaf miner attacked 60,000 chestnut trees in Berlin alone this year:
We have a pheromone, a sexual attractant to which only the chestnut leaf miner reacts and no other insect. If we put this in this grid and the grid is energized, the chestnut leaf miner flies in the direction of the sex attractant, hits the grid and is humanely killed by a short circuit.
Since only specific attractants are used, the beneficial insects are spared. In theory, this worked so far with covered plastic glue traps. In practice, however, the pests often did not find the entrances to the deadly glue trap.
Frithjof Voss' electric grids have long been patented and are already being produced in an agricultural technology factory in Hesse. Farmers at home and abroad are particularly pleased. And also their animals:
These killed insects make fantastic poultry feed. You cannot imagine how the chickens, ducks and geese pounced on the dead insects in China.
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