Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version

November 1979


Several species of granivorous birds are responsible for damage to cereal crops in Senegal. Palearctic migrants, such as ruffs (Philomachus pugnax), godwits (Limosa limosa), and waterfowl damage newly sown rice seed or germinating plants. The main pests to ripening cereals are the red-billed quelea (Quelea quelea), black-headed weavers (Ploceus melanocephalus), village weavers (P. cucullatus), and golden sparrows (Passer luteus). Starlings (Lamprotornis chalybaeus), bishops (Euplectes spp.), parakeets (Psittacula kramerii), and doves (Streptopelia spp.), are often locally abundant pests. The communal roosting and nesting habits of only two of these approximately 10 species, quelea and golden sparrows, makes them susceptible to the mass destruction techniques almost universally employed by regional and national African bird control organizations. Such techniques may be applicable to large bird concentrations but usually are not economical for protecting small cereal schemes nor ecologically advisable when these bird concentrations install in marshes. Therefore, a main emphasis of the UNDP/FAO Quelea Project research has been to evaluate alternate methods of protecting cereal crops, one method of which is the use of chemical repellents. This paper summarizes the results of work conducted in Senegal between 1975 and 1977 in which the chemical methiocarb (3,5 dimethyl-4-(methylthio)- phenol methylcarbamate; Mesurol), was applied as a seed dressing immediately prior to sowing and to the heads of maturing cereals. Some of the results reported herein have previously been published and are cited when appropriate in the text but are included for completeness. Methiocarb has been an effective, broad-spectrum, and non-lethal repellent to many bird pests in several countries (Guarino 1972; Crase and DeHaven 1976; Calvi et al. 1976.)