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Name: Donna Grills
Woodstock, Ontario Canada
donnaleede
Mar 16, 2015 5:36 PM CST
We have lots of snails in our backyard. Not into eating them so how can we control them? Live in southern Ontario, weather of all kinds - hurry up spring!
Name: Beverly
Colima, Mexico (Zone 11a)
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vitrsna
Mar 18, 2015 11:07 AM CST
Welcome! Donna... Hurray! geewhiz i see you have 31 views and no replies. This is very unusual and i'm not sure how this happened. I am sure there must be people out there with snail and slug problems. I am a strictly organic gardener and usually people who are not don't like to hear about my methods. I would find out when they are eating and/or just pick them up as i find them, pop them in a bag and either drown them or put them in the freezer. As your number of slugs reduces, fewer will reproduce. This requires some perseverance. I have found this true with many plant predators. Also i think snails may be attracted to beer...they will drink some and then fall in and drown. So you might try baiting with small open containers of beer. If you are not organic, you can go the traditional poison bait route but this is not good to use if you have pets. So anyway, this might bring your question back to the top where you may receive more responses Thumbs up
Name: Anne
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Xeramtheum
Mar 18, 2015 11:20 AM CST
Hi Donna and welcome to ATP!

Do any of the snails look like the one in the pictures? If they do, DON'T kill them. They are Rosy Wolf Snails, Euglandina rosea and they eat other snails and slugs and NOT plants.

Thumb of 2015-03-18/Xeramtheum/6906a8 Thumb of 2015-03-18/Xeramtheum/554614

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Name: Donna Grills
Woodstock, Ontario Canada
donnaleede
Mar 18, 2015 1:44 PM CST
Thanks for your suggestion on putting beer in a small container - will try this as soon as the snow is all gone.
Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
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Zencat
Mar 18, 2015 1:46 PM CST
Beer works better with slugs. The problem with both snails and slugs is, once you get rid of them, they just move in from next door.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Mar 19, 2015 10:27 AM CST
There are pet-friendly baits, and also organic baits that are safe to use around edibles as well. You might go looking at your favorite garden center, and read the labels carefully. You only have to use them about once a month, unlike beer, which you have to 'maintain' every day or risk a very smelly garden.

If you water your garden early in the morning, (as we all should) that is the time to go out and collect a TON of snails. Get out as soon as the sprinklers turn off, with a bucket. Do it at least once a week for a few weeks and you will see a huge reduction, but as Zencat says, they will come back, so for long-term protection of your plants, a good bait is best.

The baiting with beer gets expensive if you have a lot of snails, and you also end up with a really gross beer/snail soup if the snails sit in the beer in the sun while you are at work. (speaking from experience here . . . Rolling my eyes. )
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
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RickCorey
Mar 19, 2015 12:03 PM CST
dyzzypyxxy said:There are pet-friendly baits, and also organic baits that are safe to use around edibles as well. ...

The baiting with beer gets expensive if you have a lot of snails, ...


You can make almost-free "slug beer" - slugs aren't fussy.
Hopefully the same brew would work with snails:

Slug Beer from mittsy

2 cups warm water,
1 pkg. dry yeast,
1 teaspoon sugar,
1 teaspoon salt

(You could even save money on yeast by using less but incubating it in a warm place before putting it out in the garden. Or treat it like a sourdough starter culture: save a little from the last batch to "start" the yeast growing in the next batch.)

I use bottoms cut from the bases of soda bottles as drowning saucers. Clear plastic is fairly inconspicuous if you push it down into the soil or mulch a little ways, so it is less likely to tip over.

You can flush out most of the dead-slug-yeast-soup with a mist or fine spray from a garden hose, without touching it. The saucer is less likely to "blow away" from the hose spray if it is pushed into the soil almost to its rim. Then you can refill it from a bottle of "slug beer" while still staying at arm's length.

We had two very-bad-slug-years in a row, and I tried to catch as many as I could in the spring. I succeeded, but we had a cold snap and my slug saucers turned into slug-sickles.

They sure do come from all around the neighborhood! The beer surely attracts them. Try setting out a beer saucer far away from any plant or soil ... they will find it.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
AMMONIA

I haven't tried this one yet, but I plan to use it next time we have a bad slug year.

Dilute household ammonia by 1:5 or 1:10. (Household ammonia is around 5% to 10% NH3, so this dilution comes out to somewhere around 0.5% to 2%.) Using the stronger dilution, or spraying right on plants with tender leaves probably means you should rinse the leaves off to avoid possible damage.

But mainly, keep the diluted ammonia in a spray bottle dialed to "stream" or "jet".

Now you can kill slugs without stomping their guts into the soles of your shoes. And the ammonia (plus the slug bodies) are fertilizer.

Turn over rocks (or in my case paving stones) to find more slugs and, in season, their egg masses. The spray kills slugs promptly, and seems to dissolve egg masses.

I don't know whether snail shells would protect them.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
BAIT

I read one claim (on the Internet, so who knows?) that slugs do remember and avoid areas where they became sick within the last week or two. That might be the mode of action of the "iron phosphate" slug bait (send them to your neighbors' yards).

I never see dead slugs with the "iron phosphate" slug bait, whereas I always see thick slime trails radiating away from the metaldehyde bait, each usually ending in a dead slug.

I think the slug baits that use iron phosphate (and EDTA) are quite safe around food crops. (Though not everyone agrees about what is "safe".)

The metaldehyde-based slug baits are very effective even when scattered very thinly: they attract slugs and kill them promptly. I wonder whether the slugs that cannibalize poisoned slugs are also poisoned?

Bait should be scattered thinly so that it would take an extremely dedicated, very patient and hungry small pet to find and eat enough grains to have any effect at all. Also, it is not more effective when scattered thickly.

I think the main pet hazard with baits is that dogs might get into the box and eat significant amounts. They do "flavor" the grains with molasses and/or bran to make them attractive to slugs. And the ones with larger grains might look like dog food.

I THOUGHT that some slug baits were required by law to include a very bitter compound that deters most things with taste buds from eating the second grain. But I don't see that now, searching online. Maybe only in Great Britain?

Maybe you could shake the bait up with some cayenne pepper to de-motivate dogs.

The more effective slug bait contains metaldehyde, which IS quite toxic if around one teaspoon of slug bait is eaten per 10 lbs of body weight.
[Last edited by RickCorey - Mar 19, 2015 7:08 PM (+)]
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Name: Donna Grills
Woodstock, Ontario Canada
donnaleede
Mar 19, 2015 1:00 PM CST
Thanks for all the great tips. Will be sure to try these as soon as it stops snowing and we can get out into the garden and the sunshine.
Name: Beverly
Colima, Mexico (Zone 11a)
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vitrsna
Mar 19, 2015 3:30 PM CST
Thank you Elaine and Rick...this is really helpful information and i saved your responses on my computer so i wouldn't loose track of them. Thumbs up
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Mar 19, 2015 3:49 PM CST
Metaldehyde can kill your cute little pet dog or your neighbors annoying barking dog. I would avoid using Metaldehyde.

The beer trap and/or the beer/yeast trap is the best way to go (in my experience).

Some believe that using coffee grounds will cause snails to dine elsewhere.

Many people spread crushed egg shells but I wonder how this can help since the snails can travel easily across the shells apparently with no discomfort.

As soon as you can, clean the yard and garden and get rid of weeds and other moist places where the snails can hang out.

Do what you can to encourage toads to live in your garden. Toads eat snails.

Also, many birds eat snails. Encourage the birds to populate your yard and garden. Some birds require a large, flat stone to crack the shells, so keep a bird bath and have a large flat stone somewhere nearby.

Other than that I would pick them one at a time and either relocate them or donate them to someone who can use them as food for their toads or birds. I think I read somewhere that if you relocate snails it must be at least 250 yards away...who does these studies to get answers like that? Shrug! Rolling on the floor laughing
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Mar 19, 2015 5:13 PM CST
I agree Rolling on the floor laughing Can you imagine 'tracking' a relocated snail? Tiny GPS collars? I guess you could mark the shells and see if the marked ones showed up again, and how long it took them.

At my daughter's old house in Salt Lake, the neighbor over the back fence had chickens. He would encourage us to throw the snails over the fence and the chickens loved them! Those guys sure didn't have to be 'relocated' more than about 20ft. Thankfully, for my throwing arm. I used to throw handful after handful of snails over that fence.

Didn't know about the toads! So, that's why I don't have many slugs or snails here - I have loads of toads.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Mar 19, 2015 7:12 PM CST
Thumbs up
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Mar 20, 2015 5:38 AM CST
FWIW I doubt that the OP (Donna) would be able to get metaldehyde anyway since she's in Ontario where it is banned for "cosmetic" use in gardens.

Re iron phosphate, Dr. Jeff Gillman, author of the book The Truth About Garden Remedies, wrote an interesting blog about that here: http://blogs.extension.org/gardenprofessors/2012/05/10/upon-...

My grandfather used the beer-in-tin method but that was in England. Here I'm a bit concerned about the wildlife finding it and discovering an inebriated skunk hiccuping away out there in the garden. Smiling
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
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RickCorey
Mar 20, 2015 7:28 PM CST
I don;t have time this moment to read the blog, but here's my take from past readings:

iron phosphate: very low toxicity
EDTA: very low toxicity (it's used in toothpaste among othe things.

BUT, iron phosphate PLUS EDTA: slight toxicity. The EDTA helps the iron enter through the guts of snails and mammals, so that it is POSSIBLE to get a harmfull dose if you work at it.

I know that my perspective on toxicity is unlike most people's. I used to work in a chemical factory, and when we said "toxic", we meant either fall-down-promptly, burns-your-hair-off, or Class 5 carcinogen. f it was something where it took chronic exposure over months to have a moderate effect, yeah, we avoided exposure, but didn't think of those as "toxic". Just "not good to absorb too much".

So YMMV. And people outside the chemical industry have the luxury of treating everything even slightly toxic as "AVOID COMPLETELY".

Funny: at that job I was considered the nut who wore ALL the protective gear, and was laughed at for us. But I read the scientific papers about our carcinogens and knew they were not like "the nitrites in hot dogs", as management wanted us to believe.

But among "green" gardeners, I'm fairly far out in the direction of asking "well, just HOW toxic is that?" before I worry.
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
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Ursula
Mar 20, 2015 7:42 PM CST
In some years, usually during a cool and wet Spring, we get lots of Slugs. I think it was in 2010 when we had a regular Slug plague until the onset of warm Summer weather. I placed lots of slices of potatoes and apples around my plants and checked in the morning underneath for a Slugs. I never had much luck setting up Beer traps.
I would walk out in early morning with a Salt shaker or a bowl of Saltwater. I simply picked the Slugs off and dumped salt on them or threw them into the saltwater, which dissolves them.

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