A new approach to warding off mice eating wheat seed using camouflage scents
May 2023, phys.org
Spraying wheat fields with wheat germ oil after seeding deters mice that feed on seeds.Mice consume approximately 70 million tons of maize, rice and wheat grains each year around the globeColleagues in New Zealand had tried smearing the scents of endangered birds over areas where the birds would never visit. This led to predators growing suspicious of such scents, because when followed, there was no payoff. That led them to ignore the smell of the birds even when they were present.To see if the approach might work with mice, the team treated 60 10x10 plots with wheat germ oil, which contains the scent of the wheat germ - the part of the wheat the mice want to eat. To gauge its effectiveness, the team sprayed it on plots before planting seeds and others after seeding. They also left a few plots untreated.They were surprised to find that the oil did not serve as a false signal; the mice still ate the seeds where the plots had been pretreated. But they also found that the mice largely left alone the plots where treatment had occurred after planting. This, the researchers suggest, was likely because an overabundance of aroma had confused the mice, making it nearly impossible for them to find the seeds.
via University of Sydney: Finn C. G. Parker et al, Olfactory misinformation reduces wheat seed loss caused by rodent pests, Nature Sustainability (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s41893-023-01127-3
Post Script: In the modern world where we scavenge for data more than we do food, and in an effort to protect our own personal data, quite valuable in this modern world, we would call this "data poisoning," where you might use a different name every time you register for a webservice or purchase an e-ticket, filling the spreadsheet with similar but not the same names, confusing the predictive analytics machine with dirty data. On this note, one bonus we can expect from the deluge of artificially-generated digital detritus coming our way, is that it will fill the entire internet with fake people, which will fill the entire data-bundle of your favorite data broker with fake people, all with fake addresses and fake phone numbers and fake preferences for consumer products, and this will collapse the surveillance advertising industry.
Partially related image credit: AI Art - Crowd of Doctors Celebrating Like Football Players - 2023