Baits are currently the best tool for Bulimulus bonariensis snail management, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) entomologists reported recently. Assistant professors Lauren Diepenbrock and Nicole Quinn also provided an update on snail research. Diepenbrock works at the Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred. Quinn works at the Indian River Research and Education Center in Fort Pierce.
Florida growers first reported concerns about B. bonariensis in 2020 when they found it covering microsprinkler emitters and interfering with irrigation in the late spring and early summer. Populations have since increased within groves and spread throughout much of the state.
Excerpts from the Diepenbrock and Quinn report follow:
Snails and slugs are challenging to control through topical pesticides. To date, the most effective controls for this group of pests come in the form of baits. Previously, we evaluated several pesticides and molluscicidal baits and chemistries under laboratory conditions. None of the topical chemistries tested, including bifenthrin and carbaryl, impacted the snails. Baits with metaldehyde, sodium ferric EDTA, and iron phosphate killed over 90% of snails in laboratory trials.
This is promising, and field trials are currently underway. To inform timing of management practices, we are currently monitoring B. bonariensis populations throughout Central Florida. We expect that timing bait applications to periods of population growth will have a greater impact on the pest population than random applications.
Monitoring began in late fall of 2022, and first emergence of juveniles was documented in mid-April. Since this time, steady mixed-age populations have been recorded at all sites. Along with monitoring, we are evaluating two types of traps for helping growers determine when to time management activities in the future.
The Citrus Research and Development Foundation is funding the entomologists’ research.
Learn more about management of the snail in Florida citrus here.
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