Garden snails can be found year round; however, they are most prevalent during seasons of warm, rainy weather. The snails can cause a lot of damage, including spreading to new areas with infested plants. They can damage the plants they eat—chewing on leaves and munching on fruit and bark. It’s important to note, however, that snails are not responsible for all chewing that occurs in gardens! Besides plants that are chewed on, slime trails and actually seeing snails are further evidences of garden snails.
To rid your garden of snails, it’s important to eliminate the places that they call home—boards, brush, debris, and bags, as the snails tend to hide under these things. Always remove snails from things that can’t be discarded—ledges, plants in pots, etc. Snails could indicate that the area is receiving too much water. If you find a snail on a building or a tree trunk, this means they don’t eat plants. Instead, they eat algae and lichens and shouldn’t be killed.
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It’s good to search for snails or slime trails when it’s dark. Picking snails by hand can work if it’s done comprehensively and on a regular basis. To catch them, it’s best to water the area in late afternoon and then search for garden snails at dark. Always wear gloves when you pick up snails. They can then be put in a plastic bag, in a bucket with thinned-out rubbing alcohol, or in a container with water and salt.
Traps can also be used to catch snails. Here’s an example how. Take a small bowl and push it into the ground so that the dish is the same level as the ground. Place some fruit or beer in the dish. The snails will slide in for a taste but won’t be able to get out; they will keep falling back in. Screens can be used to keep snails off things you don’t want them on—benches, tables, or flower beds for example. Baits can also be used to get rid of garden snails. Be sure to look for bait with iron phosphate for safe use in residential areas.