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An alternative baiting method of Yellow Crazy Ants (Anoplolepisgracilipes) on Christmas Island, Indian Ocean

P. Le C. F. Stewart, G. Richards, A. Bernard, L. R. Brown

Abstract


The Aim of the research project was to trial a low toxicity bait containing Boron in the form of Disodium octaborate tetrahydrate (DOT) in a new bait delivery system to determine the baits effectiveness in controlling Yellow Crazy Ant colonies of high to low densities, and to test whether the new bait delivery system has minimal impact on non-target species, especially native and endemic vertebrates and medium-sized and large invertebrates on Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean. Three trial and control sites were identified. The sites were selected according to the density of Yellow Crazy Ants from high to low density. All sites were monitored for six weeks prior to baiting to ensure there were no impacts on native species. Ant counts for density analysis and monitoring of other invertebrates was undertaken at each site. Positiveresults were obtained with a decline in Yellow Crazy Ant density in all three baited sites compared to thecontrol sites. Yellow Crazy Ants were absent from the Greta baited site for a period of more than 9 months, indicating possible local area eradication. From the results it is very clear that the bait has had a significant impact on Yellow Crazy Ants. As Yellow Crazy Ant density decreased in the baited area there was an increase in density of Yellow Crazy Ants in each of the controls.Analysis of the data has shown strong evidence that boric acid is an effective bait for the control of Yellow Crazy Ants, and that it is a safer and significantly more environmentally friendly approach to control Yellow Crazy Ants compared to the present fipronil baiting regime on Christmas Island.

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