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African Land Snail control in tropics?

 
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Beer traps can bring them in, but there are too many thousands and we get pretty torrential rains which cause issues with pest control.

Wondering what can be done for them, aside from manual picking, that is also not damaging to the surrounding area?

I am also very much into not causing suffering, so slow poisons are still out despite my rage against them right now. We have no intentions of causing anything prolonged pain, even snails. But we have lost entire species and travel collections now due to this 1 species of mollusk
 
pollinator
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My only thoughts would be to boil and eat the large ones (really really boiling them as apparently they can carry a hostile nematode) and relying on something like a duck to eat the small baby ones.

Sorry if that's no help. Maybe someone who has actually had experience in combating them will comment too. I understand they are a major problem in many parts of the world

Here's a video where a brit learns how to prepare them

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2009/jul/03/african-land-snails-video
 
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My friend used to earn a living herding 3000 ducks through rice paddies in Thailand. The prime targets were snails. They had to be taken through quickly, since if left too long they would eat all the little frogs and some rice. Predation was mostly people and domestic dogs. Clay balls fired from a slingshot were used to defend the herd.
 
Kay Gee
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I had not thought of ducks. I like the idea, however then i am stuck building a duck pond and devoting much land to ducks. I am vegetarian so they wouldn't be eaten, and we only have 1 acre. we do have a pond in the making but wanted to farm fish for food and worry about bacteria with duck feces in the pond.

Yes, snails carry many bad things, not just nematodes. I wont eat them simply due to how unsanitary they are, takes a lot of boiling and fiddling as well. We went to our farm earlier today for some measuring and found a dismembered rodent at the farm. in 3 main pieces. I went back alone at night to get some things done and found 3 species of snail, including african land, and 2 species of slugs eating the dead rodent. i knew one species to eat meat, but never knew african land snails would eat meat as well.


i should note last year in one greenhouse we did prevent them from coming with salt, but that is nto an option for bare soil farmland.

I know skin irritant type things work with snails, but the n the problem here is the rains wash them away so easily. egg shells and the like just dont last. Tonight i sprinkled a few hundred nursery plants with diatomaceaous earth in the pots to see if that does anything. i if its useful after a rain.
 
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In coastal Ecuador where I've been volunteering, the African snails went from pestilential to rare in two years. I think the local snailavores learned to like the new jumbo snails. The ecology will adapt. They were imported as a get rich quick escargot scheme. I bet turkeys would snarf them, and Muscovy ducks too, they originated in the tropics, they're easier to raise than European ducks. Putting a poultry moat around the garden would be good, but will take a lot of fencing. There are good recipes for the snails. Maybe you can import some French or Catalan humans to eat them, they are quite nice to have around if you get good ones. The best way to learn a new food yourself is to find a chef who really knows, and approach the new dish when you are truly hungry, like after skipping a meal. I never serve wild foods to newbies for dessert. I make it the appetizer. I have seen some of the bigger ant species in Ecuador taking a snail down. You could kill the snails (sun is a cruel way, but it works) and bury them in a compost and then sell the good shells and crush the rest for lime. Crushed shell might make a good ingredient in a bait to attract them. But you gotta respect those snails- they're just a more recent immigrant than we are. They're complex, beautiful creatures. Then, I've always been fascinated with snails.
 
steward
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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I had a different species of snail in my garden. I made a point of hand-picking them on a regular basis. It was easy enough work, just had to keep on it.

Also, consider traps: Either species of plants that are really attractive to them, or dark places to hide. On my farm, a board laying just above ground level, like an inch or so, would collect snails every night.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Bantam chickens eat very little plant material and can safely patrol gardens.
 
Rick Valley
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I was not able to ascertain where the African Snails hide at night, but they would be very active in daylight during rain. I haven't seen them in areas where chickens actively forage, but they'd be a chore for a banty; they are literally fist-size. I do not know exactly how something like Corry's Slug and Snail Bait works, but I do not see slugs and snails writhing about after eating it. But slowing down and getting caught in the sun can't be too much fun for the slimy things. I know it has been nearly impossible for me to raise any seedlings in my garden in W. Oregon without slug bait and twice-daily slug patrols. We have introduced species of snails (Helix aspersa, the European brown garden snail, introduced for food by a Frenchman) and slugs (the European Brown Garden SLug, introduced accidently I hope) I have seen, after 3 years of actively increasing Garter snake habitat, and religiously detaining snails and slugs (I turn them over to friend's chickens for questioning. If they know anything, those chickens will get it out of them-MwahaHa!) In W. Oregon our garter snakes feed on slugs. Undoubtedly there are birds, mammals and herps that will feed on the African snails- after all, they were introduced for human food. It will probably take a great many months of observation and learning the local ecology, and comparing notes with other gardeners to learn who eats the snails (and that will probably be a learning curve for the local bichos too) Like I said, when I first visited Caimito the snails were omnipresent, and two years later, they are scarce! Where are you gardening anyway? Do you talk with folks around you?
 
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Location: North Coast Dominican Republic
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Rick Valley wrote:In coastal Ecuador where I've been volunteering, the African snails went from pestilential to rare in two years.



Would this perchance be at Jama-Coaque Reserve? i was there when they were still pestilential, and it is good to know the problem has abated.
 
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Location: Kapoho, Hawaii, 500' elev.
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If you can find a pipe or tube (I have used cardboard tube) that the big ones can fit in, they will go in there during the day. Ducks have always done a great job for us on the small ones, and some will eat a cracked-open large one. Muscovies might be better on the big ones. The large ones are fairly easy to hand-pick or trap. Pigs can be trained to eat the big ones if you crack them first. I am sure some pigs can learn to do the cracking for themselves. You can also make a "snail jail" that they canʻt get out of, and throw them in there along with plenty of weeds to feed them. Harvest when they get to size, and either eat them yourself, or crack them and feed to livestock. I always wanted to try that for fish food, but never have.
 
Jason Hernandez
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Joe Kern wrote: You can also make a "snail jail" that they canʻt get out of, and throw them in there along with plenty of weeds to feed them. Harvest when they get to size, and either eat them yourself, or crack them and feed to livestock. I always wanted to try that for fish food, but never have.


At Jama-Coaque, I did some initial experiments along those lines. If I threw the snail in such a way that the rocks cracked its shell, the fish swarmed it; if it hit the water intact, they did not.
 
pollinator
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Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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When I had a serious slug problem I was able to make decent headway by deliberately giving them desirable hiding places around the garden. Then every day or so I want around, lifted the logs and picked up the slugs. I was getting 30 or 40 per day from a fairly small area to begin with, with only a few minutes effort. Had I had chickens back then I would have taught them to eat the slugs and fed them to the birds.  You need to cut them so they learn that slugs have tasty middles, then they apparently will start hunting them themselves.

For your snails, experiment with different types of hiding places - lengths of plastic drain pipe cut in half might work well?

And lastly, look into how to prepare them for human consumption. They could be a good source of income, or food. And if not for you, it could be for your livestock, after a little preparation.
 
gardener
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A recent agricultural TV program showed a control mechanism used in orchards that looked good for the scale of snails I have (ours have parasites and they need to be eliminated from the area entirely, no feeding to potential food animals or cooking them).

They took a burlap sack and soaked it in a 50% water/50% beer solution, and left the wet sack on the ground for 2 or 3 days. Went back, picked it up, shook it off into a bag or bucket to dispose of the snails, resoaked, left it again. Did this in the entire orchard a few times and cut the snail problem way down.

(i have also tried eggshells, like the OP mentioned, to no avail, can't get diatomaceous earth here, and I have lots of birds/lizards/frogs that I don't want to put in danger with poisons/baits. I have been manually picking them but you can only get so many, the sack seems like it might save some time)
 
pollinator
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Tereza Okava wrote:They took a burlap sack and soaked it in a 50% water/50% beer solution, and left the wet sack on the ground for 2 or 3 days. Went back, picked it up, shook it off into a bag or bucket to dispose of the snails, resoaked, left it again. Did this in the entire orchard a few times and cut the snail problem way down.


Finally, a use for those bottles of Bud Lite that were brought & left at my house at a potluck that I was never going to drink, ever!
Thank you Tereza
 
Tereza Okava
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Haha. I understand you can wash your hair with it, or use it to make quick bread too.
(works when you have a batch of homebrew go off too!!)
 
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Location: Zone 11B Moku Nui Hawaii
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We used to have loads of those snails around here.  I'd squish them when ever I found them, I guess that's the quickest way to dispatch them.  Now, several years later, they are almost rare.  I'm guessing they don't multiply terribly fast, if you just keep doing in all the ones you find, eventually there will be less of them.

For awhile, I had a bucket of salt water and I'd put them in there.  After a day or so, I'd pour them out somewhere I didn't want things to grow (because of the salt) and let the bodies decompose.  That left me with snail shells which were kinda fun.

There seems to be two versions of Cory's Slug and Snail product.  Cory's Slug & Snail Killer can be spread around and hopefully no more slugs and snails.  Cory's Slug & Snail Death kills them on the spot and there's dead slugs and snails visible after you apply it.  
 
gardener
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I control slugs and snails by laying boards around the garden all over the place.  Short -- about a foot long and 6 inches wide.  As they warp, I'll lay them out cup-side-up so there is a little tunnel they can crawl under during the heat of the day.  It's easy enough to flip the boards over and squash them.

I squash the slugs and snails right on the underside of the board.  It seems to work as an attractant to other slugs.

The other thing I've done is work hard to create habitat for my resident lizards.  I've heard that lizards eat snail eggs.  While I don't know if that's true, I certainly don't have the snail problem I used to have.  All those lizards are eating something.
 
Mike Kenzie
pollinator
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My latest fairly successful technique for drastically reducing slug & snail populations includes always carrying floral sheers / pruners around the garden with me. When I'm out & about in the late evening / early morning - when the slugs & snails like to be out - I snip them in half where I see them. Then, I cover the dying slug / snail carcass with soil using a trowel. I do this because I noticed that when I didn't cover the dying carcass with dirt they attracted a lot of flies.  If there slugs / snails are on or very close to leafy greens that I tend to eat raw, I will move them several feet away before I kill them so they don't ooze all over / near my veggies & their roots. I move & kill them with the sheers, so I never even have to touch them this way!
I view this method as a form of organic pest control + composting-in-place.
 
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The best way to iradicate invasive species...  just keep trying!  
I also think the method of paying children 25 cents a snail is brilliant.  Kids are great at finding them, the low to the ground advantage.
 
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Location: In the woods, West Coast USA
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Ravens and crows.  

When I first started my garden it was overrun with snails, then I noticed the ravens and crows were walking around finding the snails and flying off with them.  There are no cats or dogs in my garden that might discourage the birds.  

One of my neighbors found a huge pile of snail shells at the base of one of the wooden fence posts where the ravens fly to eat them.

I also hunt for the pile of little white eggs that are often under a board, a chunk of a stick from compost, something that holds moisture and creates shade, then I expose them to the sun.
 
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