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How do I get Rid of Snails?

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  • Written By: Debra Durkee
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 28 August 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Snails can be destructive garden pests and unwanted house guests. There are a number of ways to get rid of snails, including pesticides and other, more natural methods. Creating barriers around gardens and flowerbeds can be an effective way to control invasions of these pests, and treating the plants themselves with some natural repellents can get rid of those already on the plants.

Those who may not have young children or pets to be concerned about may be able to easily use some commercial pest controls, especially products containing iron phosphate, to put on or around the plants that have snail problems. This should generally be done with caution, as frequent application can damage some plants. Pesticides can be particularly hazardous on vegetable and herb gardens, where the plants are going to be consumed. To get rid of snails that have already taken up residence in the garden and are destroying plants, gathering them by hand and removing them can help cut down on numbers. When using this low-tech method, removing these voracious eaters completely from the garden before crushing and killing them can help keep other pests from being attracted to the mess.

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Some substances can be sprayed directly on infested plants in order to get rid of snails. A mixture of water and coffee will deliver a fatal level of caffeine to the snails when it is absorbed through porous skin. Similarly, cut hair can be deadly to slugs that get caught in it. Dishes of beer set out among infested plants will lure the snails away from the plants and into the beer, where they will often consume enough to pass out in the liquid and drown.

Part of the solution to the problem is prevention. Snails do not like to cross over certain substances, and barriers can be easily built around the areas where they do the most damage. Substances that work to puncture the soft bodies of the creatures include lava rock and diatomaceous earth, which is basically pulverized fossils.

Salt and ashes from campfires or wood stoves can also be used to create protective barriers, as both will cause snails to dehydrate once applied to their bodies. These substances can be sprinkled on individuals as well as used to create a barrier. For a less biodegradable but more permanent option, copper wire can also be used to form a protective barrier around plants and gardens.

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donasmrs
Post 5

@ZipLine-- Take a melon rind or cantaloupe after eating most of it and place it into the soil with a part of it sticking out. The snails will be stuck on it by morning. So you can just pull out the rind and take the snails away somewhere. You can wear a glove if you want but this is super easy.

Another way to deal with snails is to keep ducks or frogs in the garden. Both of these go after the snails. I guess it's still killing them but in a way that nature intended. Many people do this. When there is an unacceptable guest in the garden, find their predator and keep them around for nature to do its job.

Plus those chemicals you're intending on using can be harmful to you when it gets into the soil and on the plants.

ZipLine
Post 4

@ysmina-- I don't want to kill them either but there is no way I could pick them off by hand. They're eating all of my vegetables in the garden and there's lost of them. I don't know what to do aside from using some kind of pest control product.

ysmina
Post 3

I realize that snails can be a real problem for some gardens, but I am completely against killing them. They have life too and they can feel pain. Moreover, they also have benefits to nature and are part of the balance that all creatures compose. It is cruel to kill them in the ways recommended here. I refuse to do any of these.

The best thing to do is to make barriers between plants and the snails with rocks and natural materials that they will have difficulty getting through. Or one can pick them up and place them somewhere else where they will not be of harm. There is just no reason to kill them or harm them when these options are available.

Vincenzo
Post 2

@Soulfox -- The problem with that is that salt washes away very, very easily. That means you will have to replace that barrier often. Fortunately, salt is dirt cheap so you can get away with replacing it often.

If you'd like it to not wash away so quickly, try rock salt. That stuff still dissolves in water, but at least you can have it around for a bit longer.

Soulfox
Post 1

I've heard of people effectively using salt as a barrier that will keep snails out of an area. Salt is deadly to snails and slugs, but it will not harm your animals. Sounds like a perfect solution to me, huh?

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