A bait to kill wild pigs is progressing, said Glen Gentry, LSU AgCenter feral swine specialist.
“We hope we can move forward with field trials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the next year,” he said.
The ingredient, sodium nitrite, is contained in a matrix with dehydrated fish. Gentry said pigs actually prefer the bait containing sodium nitrite, probably because of the salt taste.
“Pigs even prefer our bait to whole corn,” he said.
A provisional patent application has been filed for the bait, he said, and the LSU AgCenter could benefit from royalties when the product goes to market.
Gentry said a major challenge was preventing the sodium nitrite from breaking down to sodium nitrate, which is not as fatal for pigs. The solution to that problem came from simple chemistry, using an alkaline — calcium carbonate or sodium bicarbonate — in the matrix.
“Sodium nitrite doesn’t break down in an alkaline environment,” Gentry explained.
He said trials conducted so far show the bait is effective at killing pigs within two to three hours.
Gentry said humans can consume sodium nitrite safely at levels below 200 parts per million, and meat from a pig that dies from the material contains about 100 parts per million, he said.
“It’s going to be relatively safe, and it breaks down readily,” he said.
Gentry said the bait could be released from a feeder by remote control when the pigs are observed using a game camera.
“It’s not going to be a material on the market where you throw it out like rat poison,” Gentry said.
Wild pigs are drawn to muddy rice fields, and they eat the grain and tromp down rice plants. He said when hogs get into a field, the damage can top 50%.
Gentry experimented with traps, and the LSU AgCenter has traps that can be leased, but he said the devices don’t always catch wary pigs. “That’s not going to be the answer to this problem,” he said.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture