How To Get Rid of Snails
8 Methods to Control and Get Rid of Snails
Snails can be a common problem in gardens, causing damage to plants by eating their leaves and stems. To control snail populations in a garden, there are a few methods that can be used.
What are Snails?
Snails are mollusks, a group of animals that includes clams, mussels, and oysters. Snails have a soft body and hard, spiraled shell that protects their internal organs. They move by stretching and contracting their foot, a large, muscular organ that is located on the underside of their body. Snails are slow-moving and typically feed on plants, fungi, and other organic matter.
Snails can be found in various habitats, including forests, grasslands, deserts, and freshwater and marine environments. There are thousands of species of snails, and they vary greatly in size, shape, and color. Some snails are important food sources for other animals, while others can cause damage to crops and structures. In general, snails play important roles in their ecosystems, serving as decomposers and helping recycle nutrients into the soil.
How Much Damage Do Snails Do?
Snails can cause significant damage to crops, gardens, and natural vegetation by feeding on leaves, stems, and roots. They can also cause damage to structures, such as buildings and fences, by climbing on and eating surfaces that contain calcium, such as mortar. In agricultural settings, snail damage can lead to reduced yields and lower-quality crops. In gardens, snail damage can impact the appearance and health of plants.
The extent of snail damage depends on several factors, including the size of the snail population, the type of plants or structures they feed on, and the availability of other food sources. In areas where snail populations are high, damage can be extensive and ongoing, requiring control measures to be taken to prevent further damage.
It's important to note that snails can also spread diseases and parasites, harming other animals and humans. For these reasons, it's important to control snail populations in areas where they are causing damage or posing a threat to human health.
8 Methods to Control and Get Rid of Snails
1 - Get Rid of Snails by Physical Removal
Physical removal of snails involves physically removing them from the affected area and disposing of them elsewhere. This can be done by hand or using tools, such as tongs or gloves, to pick them up and place them in a bucket or other container for disposal.
Physical removal can be an effective method for controlling snail populations, especially in small or localized areas. However, it may not be practical for large populations or for controlling snails in areas that are difficult to access. In these cases, it may be necessary to use other control methods, such as chemical controls or natural predators, to effectively reduce snail populations.
When physically removing snails, it's important to handle them carefully to avoid injury to yourself or to the snails. Additionally, it's important to follow local regulations regarding the disposal of snails, as snails are a protected species in many countries.
2 - Get Rid of Snails with Physical Barriers
Physical barriers can be an effective method for controlling snail populations by preventing them from accessing plants or structures that they are causing damage to. Some common types of physical barriers include:
Copper tape or mesh: Copper has a natural repellent effect on snails, so copper tape or mesh can be placed around the base of plants or on the sides of structures to prevent snails from accessing them.
Chicken wire: Chicken wire can be used to create a barrier around plants or structures that snails are causing damage to. This will prevent them from crawling over the barrier and accessing the protected area.
Sand or gravel: A layer of sand or gravel can be placed around the base of plants or on surfaces that snails are climbing on to make it difficult for them to grip and move.
Diatomaceous earth: Diatomaceous earth is a fine powder made from the skeletons of tiny oceanic plants. When sprinkled around plants or structures, it can cut the soft bodies of snails and dehydrate them, effectively killing them.
Physical barriers can be a practical and effective method for controlling snail populations, especially in small or localized areas. However, it's important to ensure that the barriers are properly installed and maintained, as snails can crawl over or under barriers that are not properly installed or that have gaps.
It's also important to note that physical barriers may not effectively control snail populations in areas with high population density or where snails have alternative food sources. In these cases, it may be necessary to use other control methods, such as chemical controls or natural predators, to effectively reduce snail populations.
3 - Get Rid of Snails with Traps
Snail traps can be an effective method to get rid of snails in your garden. Some common snail traps include:
Beer traps: fill a shallow dish with beer and bury it so that the top of the dish is level with the soil surface. Snails and slugs will be attracted to the beer, fall into the dish, and drown.
Bait stations: place boards or pieces of cardboard on the ground near plants. Snails and slugs will gather under the boards during the night, and you can remove them in the morning.
Plastic containers: bury plastic containers with open tops and smooth sides near plants. Snails and slugs will enter the containers to hide, and you can remove and dispose of them.
It's important to regularly check and empty snail traps and to place them near the plants that are being damaged by snails. Remember that snail traps should be used in conjunction with other control methods, such as physical barriers, repellents, and natural predators, for maximum effectiveness.
4 - Get Rid of Snails with Natural Predators
Encouraging the presence of natural predators is a humane and environmentally-friendly method for controlling snail populations. Some common natural predators of snails include:
Birds: Birds, such as chickens, ducks, and geese, can be effective predators of snails.
Reptiles: Reptiles, such as lizards and snakes, can also be effective predators of snails.
Mammals: Mammals, such as hedgehogs, can be effective predators of snails.
It's important to note that some of these natural predators may also feed on other beneficial insects and plants, so it's important to consider the impact of encouraging their presence before doing so. Additionally, it may take time for natural predator populations to build up and become effective at controlling snail populations, so this method may not be practical for immediate control in areas where snail damage is severe.
To effectively control snail populations with natural predators, it's important to create an environment that is conducive to their presence. This may involve providing food, water, and shelter and reducing the presence of other predators that may compete with or prey upon them.
5 - Get Rid of Snails with Habitat Modification
Habitat modification involves changing the environment to make it less attractive to snail populations and can be an effective method for controlling them. Some common habitat modification strategies include:
Reduce moisture: Snails require moisture to survive, so reducing the amount of moisture in the environment can make it less conducive to their populations. This can be done by improving drainage, reducing the amount of standing water, and increasing the amount of sunlight in the affected area.
Remove hiding places: Snails need hiding places to protect themselves from predators and extreme temperatures. By removing piles of leaves, debris, and other potential hiding places, you can reduce the number of places where snails can hide and survive.
Remove alternative food sources: Snails feed on a wide variety of plants, so removing alternative food sources, such as weeds and dead plants, can reduce the amount of food available to snails.
Use mulch: Using mulch, such as straw or wood chips, can help to reduce the amount of moisture in the soil and make it less attractive to snail populations. Additionally, mulch can also provide a hiding place for natural predators, such as birds and reptiles, which can help to control snail populations.
Habitat modification can be an effective method for controlling snail populations, especially in areas where snail damage is severe. However, it may take time for the modified environment to become effective, so this method may not be practical for immediate control in all cases. Additionally, habitat modification may not be effective for controlling snail populations in areas where there are high populations of snails or where there are alternative food sources and habitats available. In these cases, it may be necessary to use other control methods, such as chemical controls or natural predators, to effectively reduce snail populations.
6 - Get Rid of Snails with Snail Repellents
Snail repellents can be an effective method to get rid of snails in your garden. Some common snail repellents include:
Copper strips: copper ions are toxic to snails and slugs, and copper strips or copper tape placed around garden beds or pots can prevent them from reaching plants.
Dried eggshells or coffee grounds: sprinkle these around plants as snails and slugs do not like to crawl over rough surfaces.
Commercial snail repellents: there are many commercial snail repellents available, including sprays and granules, that contain natural or chemical ingredients designed to repel snails.
Plant essential oils: some essential oils, such as cinnamon, clove, and lemon, have a strong scent that can repel snails. Mix a few drops of oil with water and spray it around plants.
It's important to remember that repellents alone may not completely eliminate snail populations, and a combination of methods is often more effective in controlling snail damage in a garden.
7 - Get Rid of Snails by Plant Selection
Plant selection can be an effective way to get rid of snails in your garden. Snails and slugs are attracted to certain types of plants, such as tender young shoots and leaves, so choosing plants that are less appealing to them can help reduce damage.
Snails can be deterred by plants with strong scents, rough or hairy leaves, or toxic chemicals such as Alliums (onions, garlic, chives), Marigolds, Artemisia (wormwood), Rosemary, Lavender, Fennel, Thyme, or Mint.
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.