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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Integrating Ecology and Technology to Create Innovative Pest Control Devices

  • Author(s): Blackie, Helen
  • MacMorran, Duncan
  • Murphy, Elaine
  • Smith, Des
  • Eason, Charles
  • et al.

To achieve long-term suppression of pest populations, devices capable of continued control over extended timeframes are needed. Creating new pest management tools to achieve this goal requires the integration of animal ecology, toxicology, and design engineering. This research outlines the development and testing of a long-life, resetting, toxin delivery system for vertebrate pest control, coupled with advances in novel species recognition systems. Such devices have the potential to offer advantages over current labor-intensive control techniques. Resetting systems have been developed to target several of the most destructive vertebrate pest species in New Zealand, including stoats and weasels. Results of enclosure trials for these two species showed similar responses after a paste containing 40% para-aminopropiophenone was delivered onto the chest and stomach, following triggering by a treadle operated system. Both species groomed the paste off shortly after application and death occurred after an average of 42 minutes for stoats and 57 minutes for weasels. The applications of these resetting devices are now being extended for the control of brushtail possums, another major vertebrate pest in New Zealand. Coupled with this, developments in species identification systems are ensuring that risks to non-targets are substantially minimized. Resetting, long-life toxin delivery systems could be deployed to control a variety of pest species, and further enhancement of these tools are ensuring their use for widespread field applications in a cost-effective, safe and reliable manner.

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