The Washington State Department of Agriculture continues efforts to eradicate the vineyard snail, an invasive species first discovered at the Port of Tacoma. The WSDA’s Karla Salp said the snails attack grasses, including wheat, so it can it become a problem for growers especially when the snails gum up the harvest equipment.
“Luckily, they’re not established here. They were caught in the Port of Tacoma and they’ve been eradicating that population for several years and almost have it gone.”
She noted the plan is to use experimental steam treatments to complete the eradication process. She added the WSDA has been working closely with the Port of Tacoma as well as Washington State University during this eradication effort.
“One of the challenges is one of the areas that they’ve narrowed the final infestation is in a wetland so that limits different types of pesticides that might be used. That’s why they’re using the steam treatments to attempt to kill them by cooking them alive.”
To kill the snails at infested sites, steam hoses are snaked over an area and covered with plastic to hold in the heat and moisture. Steam is pumped through the pipes for several hours to bring the temperature of the first six inches of the soil up to at least 132 degrees for a minimum of 30 minutes. The initial infested area was 300 acres but because of the WSDA’s efforts, has been reduced to less than one acre on a single property.
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