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African Land Snail control in tropics?  RSS feed

 
Kay Gee
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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
 
Landon Sunrich
pollinator
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Location: Western Washington
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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
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
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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.
 
Rick Valley
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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.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
garden master
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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.
 
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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