Snails are the bane of many garden owners and their gardens. These small, slinky gastropods hatch into the garden at night and eat the leaves and fruits of many plants. Instead of allowing them to take over your garden, take action and destroy the slugs ruining your plants. Using various techniques, including baiting and traps, as well as natural enemies to destroy the slugs, you can be rid of the slug plague in a short amount of time.
Table of Contents
- 1 Setting traps and hunting
- 2 Deter snails
- 2.1 Keep your garden dry.
- 2.2 Make mulch or tea from certain plants.
- 2.3 Make a barrier out of copper strips.
- 2.4 Sprinkle salt on ungrounded surfaces.
- 2.5 Build barriers according to ancestral folk recipes.
- 2.6 Grow plants that will deter snails.
- 2.7 Consider using stronger (but also more damaging) barriers.
- 3 Use of natural enemies
- 4 Use of chemical controls
- 5 Tips
- 6 Warnings
Setting traps and hunting
Use beer or milk traps on important plants.
The slugs will only see these traps from a meter away and are best used for small gardens and important areas. Set these up: Dig a large, deep-sided cup into the ground. Leave the rim about 1/2 inch above the ground and prevent snail-hunting bugs from being caught in the trap. Fill the mug halfway with beer or milk. Replace the fluid every few days. When the snails climb out of the trap, you can also prepare the trap with a mixture of honey, yeast, and some water that you’ve boiled down into a sticky substance.
Kill the snails with a cornmeal trap.
Cornmeal is cheaper, but it will attract fewer slugs. Put a tablespoon or two of cornmeal in a glass and set it aside. Keep the cornmeal dry. It kills the snails by swelling up in the snail’s digestive tract.
Bait the snails with humane traps.
The snails will congregate in shady, damp areas, such as under wooden planks, flower pots, or cardboard boxes. Set these traps and check them daily for live snails you can collect and release far from your home. For best results, bait the animals with the following foods that snails prefer: Cabbage leaves, Water-moistened citrus peel. Dry pet food.
Protect the traps from rain and pets.
Water will ruin the cornmeal and liquid traps. Put a cover over the trap to keep the rain out. If you have pets who might eat the bait, you can use a sturdy cover, like an upside-down flower pot with a small entrance.
Hunt the snails at night.
While not a particularly fun task, chasing down individual snails may be necessary to deal with large infestations. Using a flashlight and disposable gloves, impale the snails with a stick or drop them into a bucket of soapy water. If you have a headlamp, you can have both hands free to work, and it will be easier to hunt for the snails. Check the underside of the leaves. Follow the recognizable slime trails.
Keep your garden dry.
You probably won’t notice the results immediately, but a dry garden is the best method for long-term slug control. Here are some tactics that will make your garden less inviting to the moisture-loving pests: Water the plants early or mid-morning so the soil dries out before night falls. Install a drip system and minimize water consumption. Keep the garden clean of debris and mow the lawn regularly. Avoid organic mulches, such as straw or grass clippings. Space the plants far enough apart to allow air to circulate between them.
Make mulch or tea from certain plants.
The following herbal preparations, which you may be able to find at your local garden center, have some degree of deterrent effect on slugs: oak leaf mulch or tobacco stub flour. Scatter them around the plants as a barrier. Wormwood tea is made from soaked Artemisia cut. Soak the plant parts for 24 hours and mix the solution with soapy water before spraying the final product onto the soil or snails.
Make a barrier out of copper strips.
Buy strips of copper foil that the snails can’t get through with their bodies. Use them and form a barricade around your plants and plant beds. Small children can easily cut themselves on the strips.
Sprinkle salt on ungrounded surfaces.
Sprinkle salt on the surfaces where the snails move. The salt draws moisture from them, killing them that way. Be aware that salt can easily destroy your plants and contaminate your soil. Use salt as a border for potted plants on the patio, or place a barrier on top of the soil that you sprinkle with salt to keep soil healthy. Avoid using salt when contact with water may occur (for example, when it is raining or when a water sprinkler is turned on). Water can dissolve the salt and wash it off “safe” surfaces into the soil, where it damages soil quality.
Build barriers according to ancestral folk recipes.
Frustrated gardeners have sprinkled almost every snail repellent substance around their gardens. The following recipes are among the best of the homemade solutions but are unlikely to deter slugs 100%: ground coffee will only have mild effects on your garden. Sharp, coarse grains of sand against snails will not completely stop the plague. Seaweed isn’t as effective as plain salt, but it’s probably safer for your soil. Calcified seaweed meal is better if you can find it.
Grow plants that will deter snails.
Certain plants repel snails with their taste, texture, or toxins. Plant these plants as a barrier around your entire garden or grow them close to all other plants. They are not 100% immune, but they will deter many slugs in your garden with no effort other than the initial planting. Try the following types of plants: Herbs: ginger, garlic, mint and chicory. Vegetables: bitter, green vegetables are usually less attractive to snails than sweet vegetables. Try planting cabbage, spring cabbage, or broccoli. Hosta varieties with blue leaves are usually more resistant. Full shade flowers: “Astilbe, Dicentra, Digitalis (foxglove), Lobelia, Viola (some pansies and violets). Also Ranunculus (buttercup) and Vinca, but these spread very quickly. Part shade flowers: “Phlox, Campanula, Hemerocallis. ” Also “Mentha”, but this one spreads quickly.
Consider using stronger (but also more damaging) barriers.
Several materials will kill snails on contact. They can be used to create effective barriers against snail population spread and movement. However, it should be used with great care, and the materials should remain dry. Improper use can harm your garden or even the people or animals that use it. Make sure to use the materials on ungrounded surfaces unless you notice the following: Safety Warnings: Do not inhale or touch these substances with bare hands. These products are not suitable for gardens where small children or pets play. Silica: They can harm beneficial insects. Wood Ash Increases soil pH and can affect plants. Hydrated Lime: Greatly increases soil pH. May make soil unsuitable for many plants.” 1% Caffeine Spray: Spray directly onto the plants you wish to protect. Kills slugs as they feed. May adversely affect many plants in unpredictable ways.
Use of natural enemies
Settle ground beetles.
Ground beetles are natural enemies of snails. You can buy the beetle larvae from a garden store and release them into your garden in early spring. The larvae will feed, enter pupation, and hatch as adult beetles in the summer. . Alternatively, you can encourage wild beetles to stay close to the plants by offering them dry sanctuaries under rocks, grass, or straw. This allows the bugs to hide from their pursuers and makes your yard an attractive home. Fortunately, ground beetles can live almost anywhere snails thrive.
Use birds to your advantage.
Birds are the biggest natural enemies of snails. Ducks, chickens, robins, jays and other common bird species all enjoy a meal of snails. If you are not too squeamish, you can collect the snails and serve them to the wild birds in the morning. The birds will get used to looking for snails on your property over time and you won’t have to ‘feed’ them for long. You can also let your chickens or ducks (if you have domestic animals) in your yard to eat snails every day. Watch your chickens as they could potentially eat your plants as well. Encourage the birds to build their nests in your yard by providing hedges or dense shrubbery, bird feeders, and birdbaths.
Settle in some toads.
Toads love snails. They will eat the snails and other pests off your plants if you provide them with a home in your garden. To attract wild toads, you can turn a pot or large container upside down and lean it against a large rock. This is how you create a dark hiding place for the toads. You can also get wild toads and put them in your garden to eat the snails daily. You may consider making a small, decorative pond for the toads or frogs to live in. Do not keep fish in the pond as they may eat the tadpoles.
Opt for nematodes if necessary.
Nematodes are microscopic parasitic worms that live in the soil. You can purchase a species of nematode specifically designed to kill snails at your local garden center. Once all the snails are killed, their enemies, including the nematodes, will leave the area or die out there. If you don’t stock up on nematodes every few weeks, a massive wave of slugs can invade your garden due to the lack of threat. The Nematodes come with instructions. They are usually scattered over the ground and then flushed into the soil with water.
Use of chemical controls
Spray the snails with ammonia.
You can make a slug-killing spray out of a solution of ammonia and water. Mix 1 part pure household ammonia with 6 parts water. Pour this mixture into a spray bottle and squirt the slugs everywhere you can find them. Be careful not to spray your plants directly, as the leaves can burn over time.
Use iron phosphate pellets.
These small, slug-killing pellets are available from garden centers and you can sprinkle them around your garden. The snails are attracted to them and death occurs within a week. This treatment is safe for most pets and edible plants, but it can still be a good idea to keep its use to a minimum. Commercial brands are Sluggo®, Ferramol® or Compo® slug pellets.
Metaldehyde is a commonly used slug control agent but has its limitations. Note: Metaldehyde can be very toxic to pets, especially dogs. Proper handling and use of this bait is essential to avoid dangerous situations for families and pets. Avoid metaldehyde as “pellets” because they can be mistaken for dog treats. Use Granules instead. Store metaldehyde in a place that your dog cannot reach. Do not use the product near edible plants. Scatter metaldehyde in a thin line and never in heaps that can be mistaken for food by pets. Metaldeyhd works best on warm, dry days but cannot be used in sunlight. Sprinkle under the leaves on the eve of an expected warm day. Look for low-dose metaldehyde products with a less harmful impact on the environment.
Spray WD40 about 2 to 3 inches around the base of your patio containers. The agent also withstands rain. Spray twice a year. If you catch the snails by hand, you should hunt them in the early evening, preferably on wet nights or early morning. Try enticing the snails with a dollop of peanut butter coated in a layer of salt.
There is some controversy about whether iron phosphate pellets contain substances that produce a toxic combination when scattered. They are claimed to contain EDTA, which is listed as an inert substance. Many snail baits advertised as safe contain toxins that kill a range of invertebrates, including earthworms. Snails are mollusks and not insects. Therefore, insecticides will generally have no effect.