Giant Snail Threat Shrinking in South Florida
Slowly, but surely, the giant African snail invasion in South Florida is fading away. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) recently removed the giant African snail-regulated areas in Zone T, Zone H, Zone C, and Zone M from the list of quarantined areas in Miami-Dade County.
APHIS has determined the aforementioned areas met the protocol for removal from quarantine. The protocol for removing areas from quarantine was developed by APHIS in conjunction with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). The criteria to deregulate a quarantined area/zone include:
- Surveillance and treatment efforts for 17 months with no detection of live giant African snails
- An additional 19 months of surveillance with no detection of live giant African snails
- A minimum of one negative detector dog survey
- A minimum of one negative night survey, when snails can be more active
Native to East Africa, the giant African land snail (Lissachatina fulica) is one of the largest land snails in the world, growing up to eight inches in length. The invasive pest, which can feed on more than 500 agricultural crops – and even take down stucco and plaster on houses – has been a nuisance for area growers and residents alike since the initial find was made nearly eight years ago.
APHIS and FDACS will continue to evaluate infested areas to determine when they meet the criteria for ultimate eradication and deregulation.