STP817

    Tests of the Enhancement of Avian Repellent Chemicals with Sensory Cues

    Published: Jan 1983


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    Abstract

    Spray applications of nonlethal repellents are often effective means of protecting maturing agricultural crops from bird damage. Repellents are generally classified as either primary, in which case the animal reacts to the noxious effects of the chemical alone, or secondary, in which case conditioned aversion responses are induced. Secondary repellents more reliably resist high bird depredation of these crops over time. Unfortunately, most pest bird species are not able to detect some secondary repellents at levels which induce conditioned aversion. Thus, higher levels must be used than are actually needed for crop protection. One alternative to this dilemma has been the incorporation of an inexpensive sensory cue (for example, calcium carbonate) into the formulation to replace some of the repellent and reduce crop protection costs. Methiocarb [3,5-dimethyl-4-(methylthio)-phenol methylcarbamate (Mesurol)], currently the most effective avian repellent for field crops, has been the model chemical for testing the action of secondary repellents at the Denver Wildlife Research Center. This paper presents a general review of laboratory and semifield tests used to evaluate various methiocarb-cue (olfactory, tactile, and visual) formulations on both quelea (Quelea quelea), a destructive African pest, and red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus), a problem species in the United States. Single-choice and paired-preference test methods used on wheat, rice, millet, sorghum, and sunflower in individual cages and group enclosures and conducted under conditions of varying palatability in the alternate food are described. Appropriately designed tests to answer specific questions will lead to further advancements in effectively using chemical repellent-cue combinations for protecting crops from bird pests.

    Keywords:

    vertebrate pest control, birds, repellents, repellent enhancement, sensory cues, preference test methods, alternate foods


    Author Information:

    Bullard, RW
    Research chemists, and research biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Denver, Colo.

    Schafer, EW
    Research chemists, and research biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Denver, Colo.

    Bruggers, RL
    Research chemists, and research biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Denver, Colo.


    Paper ID: STP30170S

    Committee/Subcommittee: E35.17

    DOI: 10.1520/STP30170S


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