“Radar entomology” is the technique and science of using radar to study insect movement. Radar has proved valuable in the study of insect migration and has been used especially in research on insect pests that are migratory (of which there are many). Radar has also been used to study non-migratory (i.e., foraging) movements.
The Radar Entomology Web Site (or TREWS) was founded in 1996, during the pioneering growth phase of the World Wide Web. It aimed to provide some basic information about radar entomology for both researchers and potential researchers in the field and the general public. It developed a comprehensive coverage, including historical material and a basic account of insect migration, and attracted a considerable number of visitors – plus a review in the journal Science!
As other sources of information about insects became available on the internet, e.g., Wikipedia, visiting waned and the time required to maintain the full site could no longer be justified. From the mid-2000s TREWS was reduced to a basic resource for researchers, featuring particularly a comprehensive bibliography of every scientific publication dealing with radar observations of insects. It disappeared from the internet for about a year following the sudden withdrawal of the previous hosting arrangements, reappearing in October 2016 with a new URL <radarentomology.com.au> and fully independent status. The previous very 1990s style was lost in the transition, though a few elements remain.
Since around 2015, radar entomology and its sister discipline of radar ornithology have developed closer links through the formation of a broader research field of ‘aeroecology‘, which relies heavily on radar-based observations. There are of course many similarities between both the techniques used and the biological phenomena investigated when undertaking research on the aerial activities of insects, birds, and bats, and the broader perspective provided by the new discipline is to be welcomed. Insects in flight are now also being detected and studied with a range of optoelectronic technologies, which have advantages over radar for observing flight near the ground, especially of small insects, and can usefully complement radar observations in other circumstances. This website, however, will continue to confine its interests to radar methods and studies of insects.
TREWS last updated 2023Nov17; this page 2021Dec16.