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


Date of this Version

October 2001


Published in INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PEST MANAGEMENT, 2001, 47(4) 311 - 314.


In Venezuela, lethal control of wintering Dickcissels (Spiza americana) is considered a threat to the species survival. To help farmers protect their rice and sorghum crops from depredations by Dickcissels and to minimize the killing of large numbers of these birds, alternative non-lethal crop protection measures are needed. To that end, the responses of captive Dickcissels to three bird-repellent chemicals applied to rice seed were evaluated. In one-cup feeding trials, treatments of methiocarb (0.05% g g-1, applied as Mesurol® 75% wettable powder) and anthraquinone (0.5%, applied as Flight Control® ) reduced consumption of rice by 70% relative to pretreatment consumption. Other anthraquinone treatments (0.05, 0.1%) and methyl anthranilate (0.05%) were ineffective. In two-cup trials, with untreated millet as the alternative food, consumption of rice treated with 0.05 and 0.1% anthraquinone was reduced by 90% relative to pretreatment levels. Overall, Dickcissels responded to the repellents similarly to the red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus). Because Flight Control® has been used successfully to reduce blackbird use of rice fields in the USA, the prospect is good for successful reduction of damage to ripening rice by Dickcissels in Venezuela, particularly if repellent use is coupled with the establishment of alternative feeding sites.