Plant Quality Programs:
Dr. Bastian M. Drees, Professor and Extension Specialist
Department of Entomology
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX

European Brown Garden Snail:
The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) enforces quarantine programs to restrict the movement of certain insects (the red imported fire ant, Caribbean fruit fly, European corn borer, gypsy moth, pine shoot beetle, sweet potato weevil) nematodes (burrowing nematode) diseases (camellia flower blight, date lethal palm decline, Karnal bunt, lethal yellowing), and other pests (European brown garden snail) in the state. To enforce these quarantines for pests which can move through the greenhouse and nursery trade, TDA personnel establish compliance agreements with managers of nursery crops; conducts inspections of these operations to ensure compliance; and, inspects articles when shipped from quarantine areas. A Compliance Agreement is a written, signed agreement in which a person engaging in growing, distributing or moving quarantined articles agrees to comply with conditions specified in the agreement concerning the basis upon which a certificate or permit may be issued for movement of quarantined articles.

The European brown garden snail, Helix aspersa (Muller), is an established pest in some western U.S. states causing damage to plants. These snails have fleshy bodies bearing a pair of fleshy feelers (tentacles) on their heads. They have a hard spiral shell up to 1 inch in diameter with 4 to 5 whorls when full grown. It is generally yellowish in color and marked with brown spiral bands.

For European brown garden snail, the quarantined areas are Arizona and California, and articles originating from these states are prohibited entry into or through Texas unless certified free of the pest. Quarantined articles are horticulture and nursery stock with roots in soil and growing media (exempt items include cut greens, cut flowers, and soil-free plants, including bare root plants, plant crowns, roots for propagation, bulbs, corms, tubers, and rhizomes of plants washed free of adherent soil). Quarantined articles may enter Texas when accompanied by 1) a certificate from the origin state's department of agriculture certifying that the articles were inspected and found to be apparently free of European brown garden snail, or 2) a certificate authorized by a Compliance Agreement which is on file with the TDA or the origin state's department of agriculture certifying the shipment originates from a snail-free nursery.

The TDA Compliance Agreement for European brown garden snail (BGS) assures operation of a nursery as a facility free of this pest by having the nursery agree to implement the following practices:

1. To designate one person within the nursery to be responsible for the following procedures concerning the shipment of nursery stock within Texas or into other states with BGS regulations.

2. To ship nursery products from this nursery (or designated holding area within a nursery) that are free of BGS.

3. To receive only certified snail-free shipments or shipments from snail-free states.

4. To inspect all incoming shipments for the presence of BGS.

5. To report within 48 hours to the nearest TDA Regional Office any received shipment containing BGS and the remedial action taken by the nursery.

6. To conduct strict sanitary practices to avoid prime habitat areas for the snail, e.g., maintain clear areas around stock.

7. To inform TDA, Plant Quality Program, P.O. Box 12847, Austin, TX 78711 in writing concerning changes in the designated personnel mentioned above immediately after such change or before any further shipments subject to this quarantine are made.

8. To comply with any applicable requirements for a snail-free holding area.

For greenhouses, the snail-free holding area requires: 1) maintain the greenhouse as a tightly enclosed building with all ventilators and outside openings screened, and 2) maintain a four-foot perimeter around the greenhouse free of vegetation and periodically treated with an approved snail bait (metaldehyde, methiocarb, mexacarbate).

For more information about this and other plant quality programs, contact your nearest TDA Regional office or call 1-800-TELL TDA.

AFRAID CUSTOMERS WILL GET THE POINT - (reprinted from The Eagle Editorial Board)
We are a litigation-happy nation, no doubt about it. People sue at the drop of a hat. Some nursery operations in Texas have stopped carrying the Spanish dagger yucca for fear that customers jabbed by its sharp leaves will sue. Some rose growers have taken to purchasing product liability insurance in case people pricked by a thorn decide to file suit. Hmm. We wonder if those of us with allergies could sue people who grow and sell plants that produce the worst pollen. It's a thought.

PUBLICATION REPRINTS AVAILABLE - Bastiaan M. Drees, Professor of Entomology and Extension Specialist Copies of the publication, "The Genus Eretmocerus (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae): Parasites of Whitefly (Homoptera: Aleyrodidiae)", by Mike Rose and Gregory Zolnerowich are available by contacting Bastiaan M. Drees, Professor of Entomology and Extension Specialist, P. O. Box 2150, Bryan, Texas 77806-2150, 409/845-6800. This publication is useful for people practicing biological control needing to identify species in this group of parasitoids of whiteflies. It includes color photographs of these tiny wasps and line drawings of characteristic features. This publication was developed with funding provided, in part, by the Texas Agricultural Extension Service.

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