Snails may not hold off until the break – don’t wait too late to bait

The onset of cool, moist conditions during autumn, ‘wakes’ snails from their dormancy, after which they begin to search for food. The optimal time for snail baiting is during a window of opportunity after snails become active – but before egg laying commences.

Growers with a history of snails on farm in south-eastern Australia can monitor for the commencement of snail activity by spreading a trail of bait near fencelines and checking for dead snails the following morning.

Ideally, paddock baiting should occur once snail activity begins but prior to egg laying.

This is advantageous for two reasons.

Firstly, baits are far more effective at controlling adult snails than juveniles as there is an increased likelihood of the larger snails (> 7 mm) encountering baits.

Secondly, there is less alternative feed and less complexity to the landscape prior to sowing, which increases the chances of snails encountering baits.

Be aware that some baits are far more stable than others under adverse weather conditions, such as cold temperatures and significant rainfall. Rainfall (> 35 mm) erodes bran-based baits rapidly and reduces efficacy, with these products sometimes requiring re-application after only 1 week in wet conditions.

Applying baits at an adequate density is essential for effective control. Aim for no less than 30 baits per square metre, in order to ensure there is enough product on the ground for all snails to encounter a bait. Where necessary, a follow-up second baiting may be applied, especially where snail density is very high.

For more information on snails, including baiting guidelines and biology, see these resources:

Managing snails – latest research findings and recommendations

PestNotes southern: vineyard snailwhite Italian snailpointed snailsmall pointed snail

SARDI Snail and slug baiting guidelines

Cover image: Photo by Andrew Weeks, Cesar Australia

What is Pestfacts south-eastern?

PestFacts south-eastern keeps growers and advisers informed about invertebrate pests and beneficials in broadacre crops and pastures during the winter-cropping season in Victoria and southern New South Wales.


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Since 2019 PestFacts south-eastern has been running through IPMforGrains: Best Practice Insect Pest Management, a project delivered by the National Pest Information Network (Cesar Australia, DPIRD, QDAF, NSW DPI, and SARDI). This project aims to provide grain growers and advisors with information on invertebrate grain pest occurrence and equip industry with the knowledge needed to implement integrated pest management practices. This initiative is a GRDC investment and includes in-kind contributions from all project partner organisations.

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