sustainability through science & innovation


Conditions have remained relatively dry across many parts of Victoria and New South Wales over summer and early autumn, however recent rainfall will trigger widespread snail activity. Now is the time to monitor paddocks and determine the need to bait.

Over the summer months, snails remain dormant on fence-posts, stubble and weeds. Snails break their summer dormancy and become active with the onset of cool and moist weather conditions. They will then begin to mate and lay eggs. Eggs hatch 2-3 weeks after being laid.

There are three common snail species known to attack seedling crops and pastures in autumn and winter: the small pointed snail (Cochlicella barbara), the white Italian snail (Theba pisana) and the common white snail (Cernuella virgata).

It is important to monitor snail population size and movement on a regular basis. Baiting is an effective option to control snails. However, it is important to bait early enough in the season to control snails that are moving off their resting places but before they reproduce and lay eggs. This is because baits are less effective against juvenile snails - which are any snails hatching from eggs laid this season. Bait should be applied under moist conditions when snails are active. Senior Research Officer, Kym Perry (SARDI) says baiting before rain events can help soften bait pellets and increase bait uptake.

The best aviable thresholds for baiting white Italian snails and common white snails are 5-10 per m2 in canola and pulses, 20 per m2 in cereals and 80 per m2 in pastures. Baiting thresholds for small pointed snails are higher (20 per m2 in canola, 40 per m2 in cereals and 100 per m2 in pastures). These thresholds should be used as guide only. Rates should be calculated based on snail densities estimated at a number of locations across each paddock.

Click here for further information on snail management.

PestFacts is supported by