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Chemical pest animal control methods

Some chemicals can be hazardous to people and both domestic and native animals. You must always follow the directions on the label when using chemicals.


Baiting with pesticides can be the most cost-effective option for reducing large pest animal populations. Follow-up using physical control methods can further reduce pest animal numbers and limit their capability of quickly reinvading.

Different chemicals may be used for particular pest animals in certain situations:

1080 (sodium fluoroacetate)

1080 is registered for the control of wild dogs, feral pigs, feral cats, foxes and wild rabbits in Queensland. It is the most target-specific pesticide available for the control of these species in Australia. Only authorised persons can supply 1080 baits to landholders. Contact Biosecurity Queensland or your local government for more information.

Find out more about safe and responsible use of sodium fluoroacetate (toxin 1080) (PDF, 1.86MB).


Strychnine is registered for the control of wild dogs and foxes in Queensland.

The availability of strychnine for purchase may be variable and it is recommended that enquiries be made about availability prior to applying for a permit. As an alternative landholders may apply to Queensland Health for individual approvals for several 1080 products and the toxin, PAPP.


Pindone is registered for the control of rabbits in Queensland. Pindone is best used near settled areas where 1080 would be inappropriate; it is not recommended for broadacre use. Pindone is commercially available as pre-prepared oat bait from agricultural suppliers.

Zinc phosphide

Zinc phosphide is registered for the control of mice in crops in Queensland. It is commercially available in several formulations.

Learn more about zinc phosphide (PDF, 70KB).

Fire ant and electric ant baits

Fire ant and electric ant baits are approved under permits issued by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority. They contain a relatively low-toxic mixture of crushed corn soaked in soy bean oil and with one of the following chemicals:

  • methoprene
  • pyriproxyfen
  • hydramethylnon
  • fipronil.

These baits can only be applied by accredited Biosecurity Queensland officers to outside areas where fire ants or electric ants have been found.


Fumigation controls rabbits inside their warrens or foxes inside their dens. This control method may be most useful to 'mop up' small pest animal numbers or in areas where warren ripping or fox baiting is not practical (e.g. in inaccessible terrain or near urban areas).

Fumigation to control rabbits

Depending on the number and location of rabbits you need to control, you may choose to use:

  • static fumigation – placing moistened aluminium phosphide (phosphine) tablets that release toxic gas into each entrance of a rabbit warren, blocking them so rabbits cannot escape
  • pressure fumigation – forcing gas into a rabbit warren under pressure with a fumigating machine. The chemical used (chloropicrin, sold as Larvacide) is highly toxic to people, can be painful to rabbits, and is being phased out in Australia.

Fumigation to control foxes

Fumigation of foxes inside their dens uses combustible carbon monoxide fumigant cartridges. As carbon monoxide is toxic to people, you must take adequate precautions to safeguard against accidental exposure.


Spraying with insecticides can effectively control locusts. Different chemicals may be used for particular species of locusts. Following spraying, chemical residues in crops or stock require careful management. You must observe withholding periods or slaughter intervals as specified on the chemical label. Depending on your pest animal control needs, you may choose either ground or aerial spraying.

Ground spraying

Ground spraying is best used for controlling bands of small hoppers. You don't need a licence for ground spraying if it's applied on your own property using appropriate equipment. Ground spraying is most effective when applied to hoppers at densities below 30 square metres during the late afternoon, when hoppers have spread out from shelter, and in moderate wind conditions.

Aerial spraying

Aerial spraying is the only effective way to control flying locusts. You need a pilot chemical rating licence under the Agricultural Chemicals Distribution Control Act 1966 if you are going to use aerial spraying.

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