A quick and correct reaction saves damage from snails in gardens
Snails feed mainly at night and in the early morning hours (while the sun is not yet warm enough). However, snails can be seen during rainy and cloudy days and immediately after rain. During the day, snails are most often hidden shallowly in the soil or in the shade between plant leaves. Homeless snails (from the families Agriolimacidae, Limacidae and Arionidae) are the most common unwanted garden visitors. The garden snail (Arion hortensis Fer.), the red houseless snail (Arion rufus L.), the large ash houseless snail (Limax maximus L.) and the small gray houseless snail (Deroceras reticulatum Mull.) most often appear in our gardens and gardens. The Spanish Red Homeless Snail (Arion lusitanicus Mab.) has also been multiplying a lot in recent years. It does a lot of damage, especially in vegetable growing (because it is mobile, larger and more resistant than other vrats). It feeds both during the day and during sultry and cloudy weather with a lot of moisture in the air. Attacks almost all vegetable species and ornamental plants, especially cabbage. The soft body of snails is covered with numerous mucous glands. The glands secrete mucus (which protects the snails from drying out). They can survive exclusively in a humid environment. Snails become sexually mature during the spring and 2 months after leaving the eggs. The lifespan is about one year.
Snails are a significant pest of many gardens. However, there are natural solutions against snails:
- Fence off the vegetable beds by digging in plastic (or tin or brick fences) fences. Snails will not be able to crawl into the section with flowers and vegetables.
- Sprinkle the soil around the plants (which snails like to eat) with sand, stone flour, ash or sawdust. Repeat the process after each rain. An impassable barrier for snails can also be made of table salt or lime (on paved parts of the garden). Mulch is extremely suitable for snails to hide and lay their eggs under. Therefore, do not mulch the soil around the plants (which are snails’ favorite food).
- Plant plants that repel snails (thyme, lavender, honeysuckle, chives).
- Grow useful animals (birds and hedgehogs) in the garden that feed on snails or their eggs.
- A reliable, though not pleasant, method of gathering snails under a board or brick in the garden near the snails’ favorite flowers and plants. Then it is mechanically easy to collect all the snails.
- There are also traps with beer. Bury the plastic cups in the soil. Fill a third of the volume with beer. The smell of beer attracts snails, which will then end up in the glass. The trouble is that sometimes the number of snails doubles because the smell of beer also attracts snails from the neighboring garden.
- Regular digging of the garden throughout the year is the most reliable natural way to permanently keep snails under control. Snails reproduce by eggs. Large spherical eggs (3 to 4 mm) are placed in the soil in groups of 10 to 40 (near the roots of the plant or in other sheltered places). Snails lay 400 to 500 eggs during their lifetime. They enter the winter in all stages of development, and most often in the egg stage. Eggs of snails (but also of harmful insects) are thrown to the surface when the soil is dug up during autumn, before frosts and during early spring. There, snail eggs will be destroyed by the cold or eaten by birds.
- Copper strips buried in the soil up to 8 cm deep can be placed to prevent the movement of snails. The height of the copper strips above the ground is 15 to 25 cm. Preparations based on iron III phosphates are recommended to combat excessive snails (these preparations are ecological and the most acceptable).
- Chemical methods of removing snails are recommended if there are too many snails and the damage caused by snails is high while the weather is favorable for the development of snails. Natural solutions will not be enough. Limatocides are chemical products available on the market (snail control agents). Care should be taken when applying.
- Preparations based on methiocarb kill snails instantly, although they are strong nerve poisons for other animals as well. You should take care of the grace period. Agents based on metaldehyde are less toxic (first they show increased secretion of mucus and then sprains of the snails). The most ecologically acceptable means are iron-based III phosphates, because snails stop feeding, go underground and die. They are not harmful to other animals and humans.