How to get rid of garden snails

Houston, TX

They were terrible last season and any help would be appreciated.

Los Alamos, NM(Zone 5a)

Are they one of the edible species? If not, I understand that chickens love them. Can you add a couple of chickens to your garden? There are chemicals for killing them if you don't object to chemicals. I prefer putting them on the menus of either chickens or humans.

Houston, TX

I'm not sure if they are the edible type. These are the small grayish ones. No my home and garden can't handle chickens. What chemical that I may find on ebay to get rid of them? Thanks.

Houston, TX

This is what I'm talking about. These little monsters was eating my morning glory and corn..

I think the critters that I'm want to get rid of are slugs

This message was edited Mar 2, 2007 4:45 PM

Thumbnail by MGJapan
Missouri City, TX

If poisons are not a problem for you, there are several slug and snail bait products on the market. I used a Green Light product in California with some success. Snails were all over the ice plants and we needed the plants to hold the hillside in place.

Here in Texas I have found a liquid - Force II - that works. The snails, last year, were all over the garden, house, garage, etc. Hundreds of tiny ones. I don't use any insecticide/pesticide in the garden, but on the perimeter I attracted most of the critters that were enjoying our crops.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

You can also put copper barriers around your plants, snails won't crawl over it. And it's non-toxic. I've also seen a couple slug products here that say they're nontoxic to people/pets--I think they contain iron or copper, as opposed to metaldehyde which is in many of the toxic snail products.

Windsor, ON(Zone 6a)

There is a no chemical approach to slugs. You take a small saucer and put it into the garden flush with the soil level and put about an inch of beer into it. The slugs will crawl into the beer and drown. This really works. In the morning you remove dead slugs.
Another idea is when you cut your hair, you spread it around your plants. The hair sticks to the slug slime and they go elsewhere. If you feel really sadistic, you can go out to your garden just before dusk and bring the salt shaker with you. A couple of summers ago, we had them really bad. My husband had a packet of salt in his pocket from a fast food joint and we poured some on a slug. PPSSSSSS
you could hear him screaming "I'M MELTING!" It was so gross, because they try to overcompensate with the slime to soothe the burn. EEWWW!
Another chemical free way is diotomacious earth. That is crushed corals or something like that. It works by cutting them up as they crawl over it.
I hope all this helps.

Houston, TX

Wow, thanks guys. All these are great ideas and I'll check ebay and see if I can find Force II or some other chemical that's available. Last year I tried 2 chemicals and bead types that available here in Japan and each day it seamed like more of those critters came out. I appreciate your help.

Gent, Belgium(Zone 8a)

MGJapan,
I had the same problem until wildlife was introduced in my garden. Do you know that snails and slugs have natural predators ?
Make your garden bird-friendly, by providing them bathing- and drinking places and nest-accommodations and plants and bushes that provides them food. Snails and slugs are on the menu of many birds, specially in the breeding time.
Very reliable slug-snail devourers are toads, frogs, salamanders.
If you want them to thrive in your garden you will have to put in a water element in the form of a pool, it can be little and shallow. They need it to breed in the spring. Don't be too neat in your garden, but allow some old logs, piles of old stones and the like for them to hibernate and sleep.
You might not see them often during daytime, but I can assure you they are very
active in the night.


One of my toads; you will notice how well-fed he looks !!!!
With chemicals you can only add more polution to our already over-poluted beautiful planet.

Thumbnail by bonitin
San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

In California I needed the salt shaker at times - here very few survive the sharp eyes of the possums and the grackles.

Houston, TX

Hey Momo125 and Yuska, yes I guess I'll stock up on salt. That's the weapon of choice when I'm working on my garden. I can hear them screaming like the Witch in the Wizard of OZ.... "I'M MELTING. it's not a pretty sight. LOL.

Vashon, WA(Zone 8b)

Salt is not very good for plants, so be sure to use that method in moderation, or only in the pathways. There are also iron phosphate pellets, which cause the slugs acute problems, but are not harmful for other wildlife.

San Angelo, TX(Zone 7b)

The beer works. When I lived in AL that's what I did. It's cheap and won't hurt the plants.

Houston, TX

Thanks and I appreciate all of your comments. Doing as much as possible before the rainy season starts here in Japan.

Windsor, ON(Zone 6a)

With the salt, only apply to the slimy suckers, not on the soil. Otherwise, how are you going to watch the slimey show? And this also avoids harming your plants. Don't forget to look into "Diatomaceous earth" since it is all natural.

Ogden, UT

I have problems with snails also. They put ugly holes in my hostas. I heard you can take egg shells and place around the stem of the plant. Tried the beer thing didnt work. So I'm going to try the egg shells....
I was told by a neighbor to be really careful with snail bait. It can poisen pets.

Houston, TX

This past sunday I went hunting for the slimy critters. Found them under bricks, flower pots, boards and you know they were screaming ...I'm melting just like the Witch of the west after I put salt on them. You know what's strange, the next day all those dead snails were no where to be found. I guess the birds or something eat them and I hope they like salt..

San Angelo, TX(Zone 7b)

Even snails wise up to the beer trick! Maybe it depends on where you are and the snails are different? My mother used salt also. Trial and error.

mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

since i don't like putting salt in the garden, i've found that diatomaceous earth is really the best way. it kills a lot of creepy crawlies without putting any poison in the garden. the only down-side to it is that you have to re-apply after it rains. if you do buy it, buy garden grade, not pool grade.

Houston, TX

I not sure if I can find that here in Japan and it would not be written in english. I don't even know how to say diatomaceous earth in Japanese but thanks anyway.

mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

if you do a google search, you can find lots of places that sell it on line.

Gent, Belgium(Zone 8a)

Hi, MG Japan,
I just found this thread and thought it might contain interesting information for your slug problem.

http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/92756/

Houston, TX

Hi Bonitin,

Thanks for sharing the thread. It is interesting and funny but I did find some new way to those slimy critters.

Lenoir, NC

Be careful with diatomaceous earth. Breathing it in can damage the lungs. It's too small for lungs to efficiently remove it.

It is used in a lot of pool filters so you can probably find it at places that sell or service pools or carry things for them. It is also used in some filters used in tropical fish stores (aquarium, not eating) so that is another potential source. It's very effective since it is the skeleton of one celled diatoms and in filtration the water is pulled through the holes in the "skeleton" which means it leaves the water sparkling clean.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

I've read many times that you shouldn't use the pool grade stuff for anything but the pool, I think it was because the particles are too small and you shouldn't breathe them in, plus the edges of the particles aren't sharp which is what makes the regular diatomaceous earth harmful to pests.

Durham, NC(Zone 7a)

We use unscented Dawn dish soap diluted with water and spray on our Hostas to keep the garden slugs away from them. It does not cause problems with other flowers, it is not toxic to the environment and it's a cheap solution.

I wouldn't try the beer here, it would attract Yellow Jackets and I am very allergic to their venom. The soap deters the slugs and other pests without attracting unwanted problems.

Fresno, CA

I had snails and slugs out the wazoo last year and I bought some VIGORO snail and slug pellets from Home Depot. Now I have an enormous collection of snail shells. This stuff works great.

Decatur, GA(Zone 7b)

Try a product called Sluggo, safe around pets & wildlife. Sprinkled it on top of the mulch around my tomato plants, where I'd seen an army of slugs the evening before. None were visible, but I waited a minute or so and here they came, sluggling up out of the mulch, going after the Sluggo granules like it was a treat. I think it took about two applications (over the course of a week--I think it needed re-applying after rain) to fix the problem for good. I found the Sluggo at Ace Hardware (a few years ago), but not the one in my n'hood. I had to call around the city to locate it. BTW, I'd had moderate success with beer traps although taking out the dead has to be done every morning. (And then my dog discovered the traps and drank all the beer.)

Taft, TX(Zone 9a)

For those of you who are opposed to chemicals, you never lived in Houston or anywhere where they can destroy your entire yard and garden in one week.....go get any granular product like Sluggo and start dumping everywhere.....that beer story doesn't work...i tried.....go get a chemical!!!!!! ASAP

Houston, TX

Yeah, I didn`t think the beer story worked. Got myself some sand and made a barrier around my garden. Also put some around the base of my home and any where the critters may be. Haven`t seen many so far after killing most of them with chemicals.

This morning I check around and found some slugs under a brick. I pour sand on them and they just crawl out of it. Whet back to chemical mixture and finished them off. The mixture do not harm my plants ect...but deadly to slugs.

This message was edited Apr 9, 2007 10:11 AM

This message was edited Apr 10, 2007 9:47 AM

(Zone 5a)

I had an overwhelming problem with snails, and they all seemed to be teetotalers, so the beer didn't help. The salt was too big a task and hard on some of the plants, so I got iron phosphate. For me that worked better than anything. Another bonus, it does not have to be reapplied after each rain.

Glasgow, KY(Zone 6a)

i was reading this & got a great laugh. as i live in ( i think) the only dry county in kentucky and the closest beer is an hour away- no way am i wasting my beer !!! but the salt is fun & personally the robins & cardinals love the slugs/snails.thanx for all the info i'm finding on here

Maine, United States(Zone 5b)

Beer did not work for me either with the slugs. I dumped all the wasted, slugless saucers of beer into a five gallon bucket and then walked around the yard after a rain and collected slugs, tossing them to their deaths in the beer...or so I thought. They were able to crawl right back out of several inches of beer. I'm sure they had themselves a great party the nights I set the saucers out. I think sluggo works great, and I prefer to kill the ones I find just be chopping them in half with a garden spade...quick and painless, lol.

I think I read somewhere else about using those prickly "gumballs" that fall from the trees as a protective ring around plants. I guess the theory is that slugs don't like to crawl over anything sharp. I'm having my mom in SC collect those for me so I can give it a try with my hostas...just one more weapon in the battle.

Sioux City, IA(Zone 4b)

I have used Sluggo with some success, but have found the best way to deal with slugs is to plant more heat tolerant plants that can handle getting a little dry and get rid of the heavy mulch...just gives them the moisture they love. I know this is not a reasonable solution for a lot of folks with a variety of plants...but I was spending so much money on replacement plants for all the plants that the slugs destroyed I was willing to make the change.

(Zone 5a)

I cut them in half, too, when I see them while I'm working. I had a funny thought the other day when I was doing it ... I hope they're not like starfish. I heard somewhere that fishermen used to tear them in half to kill them when they caught them, not knowing that each half would survive! I'd hate to be doubling my snail population.

I read that pine needle mulch helps keep snails out, and I don't seem to find them or the damage in the areas that I have pine needle mulch. I have a neighbor who gives me her pine needles. Wish she had more than one tree because I love the look and smell of them!

Carmichael, CA

I was going to give the beer suggestion too. lol

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

I remember using beer when I was a kid--we had a strawberry patch in the backyard and slugs were a huge problem but they jumped right into the little dishes of beer and drowned themselves. Kind of gross cleaning up aftewards though!

North-West England, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

For containter plants smearing vaseline around the outside of the tub works - the snails and slugs can't get through it.

Concrete, WA(Zone 7b)

A question about the copper barriers; Can you please describe a little more what they are? Can I use copper tubing and bend it?
Thanks for the help

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

It's probably cheaper to buy a roll of copper tape instead--here's an example of what I mean
http://www.greenfire.net/hot/P350.html

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