Western Australian Department of Agriculture researcher microwaving snails
Snail Infestations cause around $6 million dollars in damage to WA crops each year. Researchers at the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) have found that they can eradicate small snail populations with a low-dose of microwave radiation. “Basically, microwaves interact with water inside food and any biological organism to heat it up,” said senior researcher John Moore in an article on the ABC
The testing was done in a lab with a normal kitchen microwave fitted with antennae that directed the radiation at the soil. Although the method is not cost or speed effective way to wipe out large numbers but would prove successful in resistant patches and will help in the snail’s dormant season where they do not eat and take any baits they go into hibernation.
Microwaving means the organic farms now have a way that is reasonably economical when compared to hand weeding to mechanical cultivating. Another valid point is that with chemicals they die quite slowly, so one would have to consider that microwaving would be more humane than heating baits, which is the normal way of killing them Mr Moore said.