Tests in a semi-natural environment suggest that bait and switch strategy could be used to control invasive common carp

Peter J Hundt, Jon Amberg, Blake Sauey, Kristen Vacura, Przemyslaw G. Bajer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio Linnaeus, 1758), is a highly invasive species that has had profound effects on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Many Carp management methods have been applied including physical removal, pesticide treatments of whole lakes, and water drawdowns. Herein, we tested key elements of a potential “bait and switch” approach in which corn could be used to induce feeding aggregations of Carp and then switched for corn pellets with a pesticide Antimycin-A (ANT-A) to selectively target the Carp. First, laboratory experiments were used to determine if addition of lethal concentrations of ANT-A to corn pellets deterred Carp from eating corn-based food pellets. Second, a pond experiment tested if a corn-based bait containing ANT-A functioned as a species-specific Carp management tool in a semi-natural environment with three common native fishes: White Sucker (Catostomus commersonii Lacepède, 1803), Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens, Mitchill, 1814), and Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus Rafinesque, 1819). The use of baited sites by Carp and native species was monitored using passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags. Mortality of each species and presence of corn in their digestive tracts was also monitored. Our laboratory experiment showed that presence of ANT-A did not deter Carp from consuming the pellets. The pond experiment showed that only Carp perished in significant numbers once toxic bait was applied. Further, only Carp increased their use of baited sites once baiting began, and only Carp had corn in their digestive tracts. Overall, our results indicate that corn might function as a species-specific Carp attractant in systems of North American Midwest and that corn-based bait can be used to effectively conceal a lethal dose of ANT-A. Further research is necessary to refine this potential management tool, specifically investigating the behavioral and social dynamics of Carp aggregating at sites baited with corn to enhance the temporal and spatial specificity of pesticide application.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)428-440
Number of pages13
JournalManagement of Biological Invasions
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was funded by the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF) in association with the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center at the University of Minnesota. We thank Wenjun Lang from University of Minnesota School of Statistics Statistical Consulting Center for help building our regression model. We thank Joel Putnam, Justine Nelson, John Tix, and James Wamboldt from the USGS Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center for help with bait creation, fish procurement, and handling of fish. P. G. Bajer is the founder and owner of Carp Solutions LLC, a company involved in the development of management strategies for invasive fish. These interests have been reviewed and managed by the University of Minnesota in accordance with its Conflict of Interest policies. We thank anonymous reviewers for critically reading the manuscript and suggesting improvements.


  • Antimycin-A
  • Corn-based bait
  • Cyprinus carpio
  • Invasive species
  • Management
  • Pond

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