Snail farming is the new money-spinning agribusiness in vogue. It is an interesting revelation knowing that people are now wary of the type of food they eat. Snail meat is a very rich source of protein, especially for pregnant women. The international market for snail meat is unsaturated; there is a huge demand for snail abroad, especially in Europe, owing to the recent discovery of the richness of its meat.
Several factors are responsible for the success of a snail farm. Location of the farm, feeding and preventive management practices like pest control are prominent factors to be considered in snail farming. There are many snail farmers across the globe, especially in Nigeria.
The increasing global population has generated an explicit market for snail meat, thus, making snail farming very lucrative. However, a wide margin still exists between the demand and supply of snail across the globe.
Why is this so?
This is because most snail farmers find it quite difficult to control some external detrimental factors, chiefly pests on their farm. Control of pests in a snail farm is a very tactical practice and must be meticulously done to avoid loss of snail to the unruly attack.
Snail pests are mostly: termites, toads, frogs, poultry birds, lizard, snakes, beetle, and other microparasites. What they do mostly is to prey on the young snails in case of frog and toads, while snakes and other reptiles eat both the eggs and the snail, irrespective of their size. These pests are ubiquitous; they are always around the snail farm, either actively or passively.
How to control these pests in your snail farm
One of the realities you should put at the back of your mind about your snail farm is pest invasion. However, you should not wait until you observe their effects on your snail before you take necessary actions.
Probably, you don’t know: their effect simply means loss of snails on your farm which is quite detrimental to your venture. Prevention, as popularly said, is better than cure. Let’s see how best you can prevent pests from your snail farm.
Irrespective of the type of system you are rearing your snails in, you need soil. Soil is the natural platform snails can thrive best. Amazingly, the soil is also the natural platform where these pests reside; directly or indirectly, you snails are highly vulnerable to pest attack.
Knowing the conditions and risks surrounding the soil, you really need to treat your soil against all these potential pests. Soil solarization is the best way to treat your soil; it is a non-chemical method of treating the soil. It involves the use of solar radiation with the aid of plain polyethylene sheet to eliminate pests or pest eggs residing within the soil.
Ensure you have solarized soil in your snail farm always, especially if you are adopting an intensive system of rearing snails.
Pest repellant plants
Pest repellant plants are crops that naturally make an environment unfavorable for pest survival. They are very effective in controlling reptiles like snakes. Some are as well good for insect pests, like neem leaves and garlic. Garlic and ginger can be dried and sprayed in strategic positions, probably around corners or entrance of the farm on a regular basis.
Removal of leftover feeds
Most snail farmers are fond of the habit of leaving snail food, especially perishable ones like fruits, for a long time till the snails forcefully eat them up with the view of avoiding wastage of food. This is indeed a deleterious habit.
Snail food, especially perishable ones, should be served within 24 hours; any leftover should be removed and disposed after 24 hours. Stale food attracts pests to the snail pen and this is not too good for the health of the snails.
Regular sanitation of the snail farm
If you want your snails to be healthy and free from pests, then, you must inculcate stringent sanitation practices in your farm. Avoid messy environment. Your snails are living things; clean their pen on a regular basis. They defecate; ensure you remove all wastes every morning before serving new food.
Your serving plates must be as clean as possible, especially the drinking plate. Rinse thoroughly, such that, if someone serves you water with such plate, you will gleefully embrace the water. Snails need optimum care to be productive.
Use of organic pesticide
Yes, I mean organic. Once in a while, mostly after harvesting or before stocking, spray organic pesticides, like neem oil and black soap. You can as well include it in your routine practices; they help keep your farm sanitized and eliminate stubborn pests from your farm, thus, keeping your snails healthy always.
Important precautions in controlling pests in snail farm
It is very imperative I mention these few precautions before you commence the aforementioned ways of controlling pests in snail farm. These precautions will ensure the safety of your snails and as well as enhance the effectiveness of your control measures.
- Do not use chemicals to control pests, they are poisonous to snails.
- Spray your entire pen at the same time: do not spray your snail farm in batches. If you spray a particular portion, the pest in that pen will evacuate to other pens and cause more havoc there. Irrespective of the size of your farm, spray organic pesticides just ones. Try to employ more hands to assist in the process; it makes the operation more effective.
- Serve all forms of snail food in a flat container: To facilitate easy cleaning and an insect-free snail farm, serve all forms of snail food in a flat container. It prevents decay on the soil and keeps the farm neat always.
You can as well download Snail Farming pdf for your personal use.