Community action required to control African snails

Community action required to control African snails

Giant African Snails.

Incidence of Giant African Snail (Achatina fulica) is noticed recently in some localities of Meenja and Paivalike grama panchayats of Kasaragod district. An awareness programme on the management of Giant African Snail was conducted at Meenja.

As part of the “Mera Gaon Mera Gourav initiative” a team of scientists and technical officials of ICAR-CPCRI sensitised the local people about its management practices in the awareness programme, and also during the field visit conducted in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture.

Dr C Thamban, principal scientist, CPCRI, spoke on the integrated management of Giant African Snail. The snail is identified as one of the worst invasive alien species which could reproduce and spread very fast due to its hermaphrodite nature.

The size of the snail ranges from 5 to 20 cm and during a season it lays about 500 eggs. Its life cycle is prolonged to 6 to 12 months, with adult longevity of 5-10 years. It undergoes aestivation / hibernation (summer sleep / winter sleep) during unfavorable conditions like summer and winter in cracks and crevices, heaped logs, stones, which makes the management tougher.

The snails confined mainly in damped areas, decaying litters, compound walls, rubber estates, palm trunks, heaped log wastes during rainy season. It can attack more than 500 plant species by feeding foliage voraciously, said the scientists.

Dr C Thamban said habitat destruction including hibernating niches in the locality during summer /winter months should be done. Dispose decaying litters, wooden debris in the saw mill are potential breeding sites. Hand picking during evening hours and killing by sprinkling common salt on ventral side of the snail.

Spraying a mixture of copper sulphate (60 g) and tobacco concoction (25 g) in one litre of water on compound walls and breeding sites can also control the menace.

He said sprinkling CuSO4 / Borax powder / common salt / tobacco powder surrounding the residential premises act as the repellent. Spraying of neem oil garlic emulsion (2 %) on foliate of host plants help to ward off the pests. Entrap the snails during night using wet gunny sack in which papaya leaves or cabbage leaves can be kept as attractant.

Collect the attracted snails next day and kill by sprinkling common salt. Any intervention to control the Giant African Snail to be effective needs community action, he said.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox