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  Baking Soda (Sodium bicarbonate)

Recently baking soda has been promoted to control coqui frogs. While some concentrations of baking soda may be effective, the only legal and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved agent for controlling coqui frogs is citric acid.

Use of baking soda as a frog control agent has not been approved by the EPA; therefore it would be a violation of EPA regulations to use it for that purpose.

Citric acid is on a list of substances that are exempt from EPA regulations because it is "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS), whereas baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is not exempt even though it is commonly found in food.  Therefore, there are a series of steps necessary to acquire EPA approval before baking soda can be legally used to kill coqui frogs in Hawai‘i.

  1. Test baking soda in the laboratory for its ability to kill the coqui frog quickly and humanely and its consistent effectiveness on different sexes, ages, stages of maturity, and eggs.

Status: Tests were conducted by USDA APHIS Wildlife Services, National Wildlife Research Center in Hilo. Results are summarized in this announcement and report but are not a recommendation to or an endorsement for the use of baking soda by the public. There are several more steps in the process before it is approved for use.

  1. Test baking soda under field conditions to determine that its effectiveness on the coqui frog is the same or exceeds laboratory results and does not harm non-target organisms (plants, invertebrates, vertebrates).

Status: Tests are currently being conducted by USDA APHIS Wildlife Services, National Wildlife Research Center in Hilo.

  1. Request and receive approval from a manufacturer of baking soda to use its product to control coqui frogs in Hawai‘i.

Status: Church & Dwight has denied approval to use its sodium bicarbonate to kill coqui frogs. Another manufacturer has been contacted but is requesting more information in order to make a decision.

  1. Submit the results of Steps 1, 2 and 3 to US EPA via Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture to request approval for use of baking soda to control coqui frogs in Hawai‘i.


For more information, see Regulating Pesticides – US Environmental Protection Agency website http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/regulating/






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