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An insect that Florida spent $23 million to eliminate in 2021 is still a problem today. Learn what it is.

The race is won by steadiness and pace. In this instance, though, slow and steady is lazily obliterating Florida’s gardens. A southern US state has once again been overrun by the enormous African snail, which could also be harmful to people.

Employees of Florida’s Department of Agriculture have been searching the gardens of New Port Richey, a small town in Paso County on Florida’s west coast where the invasive species has spread, for approximately a month now, since June 23.

One of the department’s biologists, Jason Stanley, told AFP that the snail ‘feeds on over 500 different species of plants’ and that a single big African snail may lay up to 2,000 eggs per year. These facts, along with the snail’s enormous appetite, could be disastrous for the state’s thriving agriculture sector.

‘Another issue with this snail is that it carries the rat lungworm, which can cause meningitis in humans,’ said Stanley, adding, ‘we’re concerned with that being in our environment’.

Other parts of Florida effectively eradicated the large African snail in 1975 and again in 2021. The later effort, which cost $23 million and was conducted in Miami-Dade County, lasted ten years.

More than 1,000 gastropods have already been collected in the current ‘snail hunt’ as a result of canines that smell for snails.

Authorities in Florida believe the eastern African snail was reintroduced to the state as a result of someone bringing it home as a pet.

The Florida Department of Agriculture has established a quarantine zone within New Port Richey, where no plants or other vegetation may be destroyed, in an effort to try and stop the snails from spreading further.

They are also using metaldehyde, a pesticide that is safe for both humans and animals, to eradicate the giant snails.


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