Ask a Question forum: Snails and pill bugs

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Highland, ut
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Happy_in_dirt
May 25, 2017 6:59 PM CST
Hello! I have a problem with snails! They've pretty much have munched the hostas to bits. I've read that copper is a good deterrent. I'm looking for the most, absolute most natural method of shoo-ing them away. I also have the rollie pollie pill bugs like crazy. Last year they didn't bother my garden much but I've planted cucumbers this year for my first time and I'm worried they will munch on these. Will that spicy habanero neem oil mixture work? I've also read about putting something nice and mushy into a toilette paper roll and they'll congregate there for a toss out. Please help!! (I guess here's to experimenting eh!)
Name: Christine
Saugerties, NY zone 5a
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Christine
May 26, 2017 7:28 AM CST
As for your snails, I've used crushed egg shells around my hosta's, the snail or slugs wont cross the broken up shells, you could also put out little bowls of beer, I used cat food cans. I cant help with the rollie pollie bugs, one of the other members with more knowledge will help you out. Welcome!
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
May 28, 2017 12:49 PM CST
Welcome!

Agree with @Christine about the beer. You can also put it in tuna cans if you don't have a cat. Theory is that the snails/slugs are attracted to beer and then drown in it. When I tried that in another lifetime, my ex and I had some German beer so we used it. Unfortunately, before the little alcoholic snails/slugs could get to the beer our German dog drank it.

A product that works good is Sluggo Plus. (Not Sluggo.) Should be easy to find. As with most things, you'll need to periodically reapply.

Of course the absolutely most totally organic means of getting slugs off your hostas is to go outside after dusk with a flashlight and pick them off. Squish 'em or feed them to the birds.

Like your idea of using the toilet paper roll for the pill bugs. Wouldn't use Neem. But also don't know if the pill bugs will munch on anything.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
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plantmanager
May 28, 2017 1:16 PM CST
Diatomaceous earth sprinkled around your plants will get rid of most of the pill bugs. I had a huge problem with them in my greenhouse beds. After I spread it around they are mostly gone. I still see a few, but it's not the huge numbers I used to see.
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Highland, ut
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Happy_in_dirt
May 29, 2017 10:06 PM CST
Thank you everyone! I will try the diatomaceous earth! I remember looking at that under a microscope in a plant kingdom class in college (I did terribly on tests but I loved lab days😂). What a trip! Today I mixed up that hot pepper mix and went out to spray. There was a cheeky snail getting its breakfast! I squirted it not really thinking much more than "jerk". Oh my goodness, I felt so awful because it bubbled and like...dissolved! Anyhow, while I definitely don't want them eating my plant family, Id rather not witness their demise😂...all though secretly and with a little guilt, I admit I was thrilled that it worked.
-E
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
May 29, 2017 10:35 PM CST
If you buy diatomaceous earth you need to buy the food grade type. There's another type that's used for swimming pools but don't ask me why.

I was at a garden center today and was chatting up one of the old timers there. I said that I couldn't remember if pill bugs munched on a lot of plants. I said that I kinda remembered hearing that they had a beneficial element to them. He said that they play an important role in the environment (other than entertaining children). They eat rotting vegetation and then 'return' it as nutrients. And - this one surprised me - they can remove toxic metals from the soil.

Of course they can also creep you out if you lift up a garden pot and see a gazillion of them lounging underneath it.

I found this article that is somewhat scientific. If, like me, you don't especially care to wade through the whole discussion, just scroll down to the section labeled 'Significance'.

https://www3.northern.edu/nats...
Name: Nora
Castlegar, B. C. Canada (Zone 5b)
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HemNorth
May 29, 2017 11:11 PM CST
Many of our perennials came in small pots from the coast, and unbeknownst to me, would have snail eggs in them. Eventually they became a problem in our shady acre and a half Robson garden.

I kept an electric kettle in our summer kitchen, would gather 50 to 100 snails in a bucket, and after imagining them going to a happier afterlife, I would pour about half a quart of boiling water over them. To me, this extremely swift ending of their lives, was far better than the other methods where they they might linger in pain. Within a second or two, it was over. After the water cooled, I would dump them at the base of some shrubs or trees in the woodland area.

After a rain, or a good sprinkler session, they would be easier to find. I would even pluck them off of smooth barked trees like the Douglas maples or Saskatoons.

Good luck to you, @Happy_in_dirt Thumbs up

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