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


Date of this Version



International Journal of Pest Management, 2015 Vol. 61, No. 2, 144-152


The brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis) is invasive in Guam, has imposed ecological and economic problems there, and threatens to be dispersed via cargo and vehicles to other islands in the Pacific, where it could be expected to inflict similar damages. Prevention of inadvertent snake export currently relies on cargo inspection and suppression of snake populations around ports, which are expensive and incompletely reliable. Hence, there has long been interest in developing additional tools to preclude snakes leaving in cargo, and fumigation with essential oils has been suggested for this role. We tested gaseous or aerosol deliveries of several essential oils and three other candidate irritants. We found none to work reliably in repelling snakes, and we discuss several limitations that make development of an effective fumigation tool from these chemicals improbable. Additional effort to develop an operational tool using essential oils would likely be misdirected, and effective fumigation methods for invasive snakes should be sought elsewhere.

Included in

Life Sciences Commons