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African Giant Snail menace up this year

The Hindu, New Delhi, September 19, 2014


A few farmers have complained that the menace of African Giant Snail (called Daitya Basavana Hulu in Kannada) or Achatina fulica has increased in some farmland in Dakshina Kannada this year. This snail mainly affected vegetables, ginger, banana and to some extent arecanut, said Yogesh H.R., Deputy Director, Department of Horticulture. He told The Hindu that this snail naturally existed in swampy area, especially during the rainy season. But this year they have been seen in large number in Alankar, Markanja, Sampaje, Panja, Bellare and Charmady areas in addition to farm lands along the banks of the Netravathi and the Kumaradhara. Mr. Yogesh said that specific reasons for the snails multiplying this year were not known. It could be due to high moisture content.


He said the snail, which takes shelter under its shell, became active in the night and consumed vegetable plants, banana and its leaves, ginger and several crops. Though the taller arecanut palms were spared, the smaller palms were damaged. Balakrishna Suvarna, chairman, standing committee on agriculture, Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat, too said that the menace of the snail was not found in arecanut palms. Mr. Yogesh said the snail was capable of eating 500 species of plants. It could cover two metres per hour and lived up to 12 years. A snail could lay between 100 and 400 eggs at a time. He said metaldehyde pesticide could be used to kill them. This pesticide should be pasted to papaya or pineapple or cabbage pieces and kept in the farm during night. For a kilogram of the vegetable or fruit pieces, 20 ml of the pesticide should be pasted. If the snails were found after the rainy season, limestone could be spread around the plants to kill them. In this case the snails died out of dehydration.