Residents worried over African Giant Snail menace

Residents worried over African Giant Snail menace

African Giant Snails on planatin leaves.

Residents of Pandeshwara New Road and surrounding areas in the city are complaining about African Giant Snail (Achatina Fulica) menace.

The snails were initially spotted in small numbers. However, they multiplied over a period of time following heavy rainfall, and have gained entry into the courtyards and the kitchen gardens of households.

During daytime, the snails hide in the hollows of the trees or inside bushes and come out only during the night hours. They are spotted on the staircases and the walls of the houses. Households with a kitchen garden are the worst affected. Many have been using salt to control them, but the problem continues to persist, say the residents of New Road.

According to Vishwanath, the African Giant Snails were first noticed a month ago near his house. “We do not know how to get rid of them. Since the snails are not visible during the daytime. We do not know when and where to sprinkle salt to check the menace. As the sun sets in, the snails start crawling all over the house,” he said.

Another resident Kavitha Bharath Kumar said: “The African Giant Snails have been spotted in at least 20 houses. The snails are spotted all over the coconut trees. We can’t even kill them.”

“The African Giant Snail menace was severe in Ullal and the surrounding areas last year. Metaldehyde pesticide can be used to kill the snails. The pesticide should be mixed in water and husk to make a ball. When the snails consume these balls, they die instantly,” said H R Nayak, deputy director of the Horticulture Department.

The sprinkling of salt and lime also helps control the menace. When the snails crawl past the salt, the water level in their body reduces and they die of dehydration. If the menace in the plantations is severe, then the department provides a subsidy for the purchase of pesticides. Last year, the African Giant Snail menace had affected farmers of Alankaru, Markanja, Sampaje, Panja, Bellare and Charmadi areas, in addition to the farmlands located along the banks of River Netravathi and River Kumaradhara. The snail mainly affects vegetables, banana plantations and to some extent, arecanut trees.

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