Action

Action Synopsis: Bird Conservation About Actions

Control invasive ants on islands

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
    10%
  • Certainty
    15%
  • Harms
    not assessed

Source countries

Key messages

A replicated, randomised and controlled, before-and-after paired sites study in the USA found temporarily increased fledging success, but no decrease in injuries inflicted by Solenopsis geminata on wedge-tailed shearwaters Puffinus pacificus following ant control. However, there was no change in fledging success or injury rate on an island dominated by the big-headed ant Pheidole megacephala following its eradication, either on the experimental or control island.

 

About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A replicated, randomised and controlled, before-and-after paired sites study over three breeding seasons in 2002-2004 on two pairs of offshore islets (< 5 ha) in Hawaii, USA (Plentovich et al. 2009), found that wedge-tailed shearwaters Puffinus pacificus from an island previously dominated by the invasive tropical fire ant Solenopsis geminata showed temporarily increased fledging success, but no decrease in injuries inflicted by S. geminata following ant control (27-38% of chicks injured in all seasons), whilst fledging rates remained constant and injuries increased on an untreated island (8% injured in 2002, 80-100% in 2003-4). There was no change in fledging success or injury rate on an island dominated by the big-headed ant Pheidole megacephala following its eradication, either on the experimental or control island, but very few chicks were injured by ants. Severely injured chicks (20% of tissue on their feet lost) weighed significantly less than uninjured chicks and did not fledge. Between 15 and 43 chicks were monitored on each islet each year. Following a year of baseline data collection, ant populations were controlled with granular protein-based ant bait in February 2003 on one randomly selected islet of each pair.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Williams, D.R., Child, M.F., Dicks, L.V., Ockendon, N., Pople, R.G., Showler, D.A., Walsh, J.C., zu Ermgassen, E.K.H.J. & Sutherland, W.J. (2018) Bird Conservation. Pages 95-244 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2018. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.

 

Where has this evidence come from?

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Bird Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Bird Conservation
What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation assesses the research looking at whether interventions are beneficial or not. It is based on summarised evidence in synopses, on topics such as amphibians, bats, biodiversity in European farmland, and control of freshwater invasive species. More are available and in progress.

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