The cane toad (Bufo marinus) is one of Australia’s worst introduced pests.
Initially introduced to help control the native cane beetle, cane toads quickly established themselves in ecosystems across north Queensland and have spread south to New South Wales and west into the Northern Territory.
Attempts to control the pest have often been thwarted by the toad’s ability to reproduce at an alarming rate and toad numbers across Australia are now estimated to be as high as 200 million (that’s approximately ten toads for every man woman and child in the country). However, the tide could be about to turn with the release of a new piece of Australian ingenuity – toad-spray.
Dr. David Dall is a scientist who has developed the aerosol-based pesticide, which he says euthanases cane toads and creates and exclusion zone around the family home or business.
Dr. Dall says that the product is non-toxic and will dispatch toads on to the next world in a peaceful manor.
“This material is a combination of things that you would find around you house… our advance has been to combine them in particular proportions,” he said.
“One of the components in the mixture acts as an anaesthetic for cane toads so it immobilises them very soon after treatment and another one of the components then basically kills the toad before they can wake up again so it’s safe, it’s humane and it’s very effective.
Dr. Dall says that the product is not currently available as it still has to pass through Australia’s regulatory process, but he hopes to have it on the market within the year.
“Were it has to go now is through the regulatory process that takes a little while and there’s very good reason why that has to be done even though I trust my work it has to be verified, obviously. We are looking for this to be on the shelves of about April next year.”