Community effort needed to eradicate the Giant African Snail

The Giant African Land Snail

The Giant African Snail will become particularly active as Antigua and Barbuda enters the rainy season and the invasive species is expected to be more widespread by September.

Thus, the Plant Protection Unit within the Ministry of Agriculture is reminding the public that the community needs to plan and work together to eradicate the snail.

“A number of home owners say that they are trying their best [to control the snail] on their land, but then they are surrounded by overgrown lots and the snails keep coming from those areas because that’s a good place for the snails to stay cool and to lay eggs and multiply, so it’s like a nesting ground so we are encouraging landowners whose land there are no houses on it and they are just overgrown that they try to control this problem,” Chief Plant Protection Officer Dr. Janil Gore-Francis said.

“It is a national issue and this point and everybody has to play a part in getting any sort of significant control of the problem.”

The Plant Protection Unit is also calling for the public to be guided by a 10-point management and safety plan.

According to Dr. Gore-Francis, “The 10-point plan was speaking to where you could find the snails, the time of day that they are likely to be active generally, in the evenings and early mornings, or on days that were generally wet like the last few days have been they would be most active and that is the time when it will be easiest to find them.”

A press release disseminated by the Plant Protection Unit also went on to state that, “all home owners in infested areas must take responsibility for collecting and killing snails found on their property.”

However, homeowners are advised against leaving a trail of salt to kill snails, as it harms the PH balance of plants. Landowners are also being asked to keep the overgrowth of trees and grass low to discourage the breeding of the invasive species.

Farmers are also urged to keep their farms free from excess bushes and debris that harbour snails.