Top Tips for Effective Snail Baiting
With sowing underway, snail baiting programmes should be in full swing as well. The recent rainfall we received, along with cooler nights and evening dews, will be encouraging round and conical snail activity. Egg-laying will start occurring where soils remain damp. Research tells us that autumn is the most efficient time to bait, as it allows controlling of mature snails and subsequently prevents egg-laying. Also, snails are more likely to encounter baits when there are no other food sources around.
Below is a list of tips to get the most out this year’s baiting program.
- Look to control snails before they lay eggs.
- Don’t bait in front of rainfall events >35mm.
- Ensure even spread, density and broadcast of pellets by calibrating spreader correctly.
- Aim for at least 30 baits per m2.
- Check for dead snails a few days after application.
- If you haven’t already, come see us and grab a bag of Transcend. It’s the new bait this year you will want to have a look at. Transcend contains the active ingredient Fipronil as well as Metaldehyde, which will kill insects like slaters, millipedes and earwigs as well as snails. You can read our write up on Transcend here.
Over the years agriculture has progressively moved to more conservative farming practices, such as no-till, less burning and less tillage. Unfortunately, while this has improved soil structure and erosion, it has also created ideal habitats for snails. We have better soils, but we pay the price of these pests becoming more of a problem in our farming systems. Snails are an issue because of the damage they cause by eating emerging crops.
If you’re wondering about the potential impact on your crop, look for typical evidence like chewed leaf margins and irregular holes. Cereal crops are likely to survive this, but damage to germinating canola and legumes when they’re at the cotyledon stage can mean crop failure. Snails need moisture to be active, so rainfall events usually trigger increased activity. Snail’s pace may seem slow, but in the right conditions, snails have been recorded to move up to 30m in a seven-day period. If they’re in high numbers, that’s quite a path of destruction. So make sure you get onto them early!
Photo credit: (ABC News: Simon Royal 2017-05-20)