The WHY's and HOW's of Methyl Anthranilate
HOW MA WORKS: the science
MA’s method for bird control is a pain stimulus to the trigeminal nerves. In birds, these nerves exist in their throats and the mucus membranes of the beak and eyes. Almost all animals have these nerves, yet only birds have a negative response to the MA. Birds “feel” MA as pain, while mammals, including humans, sense MA as a grape scent.
Birds inhaling MA aerosols respond to the discomfort immediately, with two important results:
· They evacuate the location without delay. Nuisance birds are cleared from a site any time MA is introduced. It works on any bird; no immunity or resistance has been observed.
· Target birds begin to associate the pain to the site. They are trained, with multiple applications, that the site is painful and they seek a new location.
MA aerosols are environmentally responsible. MA’s lack of residuals is its greatest strength; it expels existing target birds immediately, and then disappears, allowing non-target birds to return. The EPA has classified it as a naturally occurring flavorant, and MA has been declared GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe) by the FDA: consequently, there are no reentry or harvest restrictions in the work zone. MA is benign when applied properly.
HOW MA AEROSOLS ARE MADE: the technology
MA can be atomized with both hot and cold aerosol production. Both processes present the active ingredient, MA, in very small droplets (5-25 microns). Both float along air currents affecting any birds downwind. It is necessary for birds to inhale only extremely small amounts, as low as 20ppm, to receive the discomfort stimulus.
Thermal (hot) fogging uses heat to flash-evaporate the product into a cloud (similar to burning scented candles or incense sticks to release the fragrance). When delivered this way, MA is usually seen as a white cloud, consisting predominantly of MA and water vapor. The heat-produced plume has the capacity to rise and spread quickly, filling structures, with or without air currents. Thermal fogging is the technology of choice to reach above trees, tall buildings, or rafters.
ULV (cold) misting uses large amounts of air to create an invisible MA plume (similar to deodorant and hair spray products). With no energy other than the force of air, it is more restricted by weather and stays more horizontal to the release point. There is no chemical change of the product. Misting is particularly useful when controlling waterfowl or when the desire is to keep public display to a minimum.
At sites where only roosting (resting) behavior needs control, four applications are all that is normally needed. Prolonged and more consistent stimulus is required, however, on locations where feeding takes place. Nesting birds should not be treated with MA aerosols, but if a treatment cloud drifts into a nesting area, there will be no prolonged affects on parents or nestlings.