Recognize the problem
Giant African snails are an invasive, and can cause extensive
damage to important food crops and other agricultural and natural resources. They eat crops, reducing yields and making them unsuitable for
Some snails grow to 15 cm in
length and 5- 8 cm wide, whereas others only grow to 6.5 cm in length.
Commonly, the shells are light brown with darker brown and cream bands.
The snail attacks more than 500 types of plants, but it prefers
breadfruit, cassava, cocoa, papaya, peanut, rubber and most species of legumes
and cucurbits. Cuttings and seedlings are especially vulnerable. The adult
snails prefer to feed on decaying organic matter, whereas young snails can
cause serious damage to living plants especially flowers and vegetables. Damage
is greatest when outbreaks first occur in a new area. Population explosions
result in hundreds of snails per square metre. A snail can produce 1200 eggs
per year and live for up to 9 years.
The snail feeds at night or when
the weather is overcast and rainy during the day. It avoids the sun by
sheltering under stones, logs or in crevices. If dry weather lasts, the snail
seals the opening of the shell and awaits the return of favourable conditions.
There are two main options utilized in
the control and eradication of the snail, these are:
- Hand-picking of the snails and killing them in sea
water or brine. The snails should be
left for two days.
- Treatment of infested area with a mollusicide, such
Pellets are scattered in small patches 12” square on
the ground, they should be replaced when eaten or deteriorate due to weather.
One small pellet is enough to kill a snail.
Take care not to expose domestic animals and
wildlife to metaldehyde, as it is also toxic to these animals.
The Entomology Department will pay 50 cents
per pound for the snails. Bag the snails and contact the Department for pick
up. The snails are destroyed by burning.
When using a pesticide, always wear protective clothing and follow the instructions on the product label, such as dosage, timing of application, and pre-harvest interval.