U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



Outlooks on Pest Management (April 2011); DOI: 10.1564/22apr12


Bird damage has plagued orchardists since the earliest times of cultivation. In a matter of minutes, a flock of birds can literally strip a tree of all harvestable fruit or render hanging fruit unmarketable. While this level of damage is rare, significant economic impact can occur to those orchards where birds select to forage. Crop protection techniques available to orchardists are primarily limited to hazing (scarecrows, propane cannons, flagging) and physical exclusion (netting). Given the propensity of birds to habituate to hazing techniques, hazing methods offer limited protection for crops. Although exclusion devices may offer the best protection from birds, they are expensive to purchase, install, and maintain. As a consequence, orchardists have sought a chemical means of protecting their crops from bird damage. Repellents are, by design, not toxic to the target organism. They may, however, still have undesirable impacts on humans and the environment. Consequently, repellents are subject to the same general registration requirements as traditional agricultural chemicals. As with any chemical application to a food or feed crop, a major hurdle for expanding the use to fruit crops is the establishment of a residue tolerance for applications made during the ripening period.