Hazelnuts, aka filberts, have fans all over the place, including coffee drinkers and anybody who’s ever tried that famous chocolate-hazelnut spread.
But they also have a nemesis: the filbertworm. These pests are a serious problem in the Pacific Northwest, which grows most of our hazelnut supply.
The larvae burrow into hazelnuts and eat the insides; before burrowing out and spreading even further.
Researchers at the University of Oregon have recruited some allies they think can help slow the filbertworms reign of nutty terror: pigs.
I’m probably oversimplifying how this works, but the general idea is this: in many cases infested nuts will fall to the ground a little sooner than uninfected ones.
Setting pigs loose in the forest when those nuts have fallen – but before the healthy ones have – would mean fewer pests and healthier crops.
The results of early testing look promising. At the very least, the pigs seem willing to eat as many hazelnuts as necessary to test out the idea.
Smart robots are eventually supposed to come along and help us, but right now they’re too busy playing with cats.
The Ebo is a smart robot designed to keep your cat happy and healthy while you’re away.
The little ball-shaped automaton will roll around the floor and let the cat chase it, or it will put out a little red dot of light, something every cat owner knows will get kitty’s attention.
And it’s wi-fi enabled, if you want to track what games the robot and cat are playing together.
Which I would do pretty much all day every day.
Biology Major Recruits Hogs to Help Hazelnuts (University of Oregon)