Identification and control of pest slugs and snails for broadacre crops in Western Australia

Page last updated: Tuesday, 25 October 2022 - 4:40pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Weed control

Summer weed control

The presence of summer weeds may reduce the effectiveness of fire in controlling slugs and snails. Green weed material may protect these pests from fire. A combination of desiccating weeds and using control methods such as burning and baiting can reduce snail numbers by up to 95%.

Summer weeds also provide habitat and food sources for slugs and snails. If there is sufficient moisture, slugs and snails will continue to feed however, only the reticulated slug will breed during summer if these conditions continue.

Fenceline weed control

Slugs and snails reproduce less on bare ground. Maintaining a weed free zone approximately two metres from either side of a fence line may help to remove potential breeding grounds.

Biological control

There are a range of native ground beetles (family Carabidae: carabids) that are generalist predators, which attack slugs. These beetles would normally eat other prey, but some have been found to have a significant impact on slug populations. They can be important factor in controlling slugs, in combination with baiting.

The only biological control developed for snails (by the South Australian Research and Development Institute) is a parasitic fly, Sarcophaga penicillata. Its effectiveness has been limited.

Further research is continuing into finding effective biological control agents for snails.