Giant African Land Snail / Invasive Mollusks / Plant Pests and Diseases / Pests and Diseases / Agriculture Industry / Home

Pest information

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The Giant African Land Snail (GALS) is one of the most damaging snails in the world and consumes at least 500 different types of plants. These snails can be devastating to Florida’s agriculture and natural areas, causing extensive damage in tropical and subtropical environments. Snails pose a serious health risk to humans because they carry a rat lung parasite known to cause meningitis in humans. Giant African land snails are illegal to import or possess in the United States without a permit.

The giant African land snail has been extirpated twice in Florida. The first detection was in 1969 and it was eradicated in 1975. The last eradication of this pest was in 2021 from a detection in Miami-Dade County in 2011. Before the recent detection, the last live snail in Florida was collected in Miami-Dade County in December 2017.

Giant African land snails vary in phenotype (color pattern). Formerly extirpated populations in South Florida had dark brown shells with grayish-brown flesh. Snails caught in Pasco County have light to dark brown shells with milky white flesh. Lighter fleshed snails are sometimes called “albino GALS” and are more desirable in the illegal pet trade. If you are interested in adopting an invertebrate pet, visit the USDA Invertebrate Pets website.

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Life cycle of the giant African land snail

DO NOT HANDLE SNAILS WITHOUT GLOVES!

Pasco County Program Information

On June 23, 2022, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) confirmed the detection of the giant African land snail in the New Port Richey area of ​​Pasco County. This detection was reported by a Pasco County Master Gardener.

The FDACS Division of Plant Industry has begun surveying the area, establishing quarantine, and will begin treatment for this harmful pest on June 29, 2022. FDACS will treat the properties with a metaldehyde-based molluscicide (snail bait). The treatment is labeled by the US Environmental Protection Agency for residential use.

Think you’ve found a giant African land snail? See ID page below. Still not sure? Email a photo for identification to DPIHelpline@FDACS.gov.

Quarantine

The curfew is in effect beginning at the northwest corner of US Highway 19 and Ridge Road. Continue east on Ridge Road, south on Little Road, west on Trouble Creek Road, north on US Highway 19 (see map).

It is unlawful to move a giant African land snail or any regulated article, including plants, plant parts, soil plants, soil debris, waste, compost or construction materials, into, through or through a quarantine area. without a compliance agreement.

To obtain a compliance agreement, call 1-888-397-1517 or email DPIHelpline@FDACS.gov.

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Treatment

Treatment to eradicate this pest will begin on Wednesday, June 29, 2022. Metaldehyde is a pesticide used to control snails and slugs and is approved for use in the field or greenhouse on vegetable and ornamental crops, fruit trees, small. fruit plants, avocado and citrus orchards, berry plants, banana plants and limited residential areas. Available products can be applied as granules, sprays, powders or bait pellets. Applications are usually made on the ground around the plants or crops to be protected.

Property owners within the treatment area shall be notified in person or by posted notice at least 24 hours in advance of the planned pesticide treatment.

Metaldehyde disrupts the ability of snails and slugs to produce mucus. This reduces digestion and mobility and causes dehydration. Snails and slugs that have ingested metaldehyde often seek hiding places, become inactive, and begin to die within days.

Frequently asked questions about controlling snails and slugs

Molluscicide Labels

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Public Health Information

Giant African land snails pose a serious health risk to humans because they carry the rat worm parasite, which is known to cause meningitis in humans. Snails should not be handled without proper protection and sanitation.

USDA Resources

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