It's a pandemic in the garden! Snails and slugs

Discussion in 'NEW Gardeners !' started by ScotchCorner, Jun 30, 2021.

  1. ScotchCorner

    ScotchCorner Apprentice Gardener

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    Hi all,

    I'm desperate for some help with a snail and slug problem.

    We've lived in this house for approx 18 months and there's a significant snail and slug issue. Last summer in one night I picked up an excess of 300 snails and slugs before I got bored counting. I put down pellets and it largely seemed to solve the problem but this year they've decided to come back and make my life a misery.

    Every night I'm out picking them up and disposing of anywhere between a dozen to 100+ of the little annoyances.

    I have tried beer traps (used left over Carlsberg from a BBQ, maybe I need even cheaper beer??) and this only seemed to attract a half dozen. I've got copper tape around pots but this doesn't seem to be a significant deterrent. I can't use pellets or coffee grounds due to now having a dog and the toxicity issues associated. I've put nemotoads into the flower beds but this made zero difference.

    I'm tempted to try diatomaceous earth although my understanding is that as soon as the beds are wet this becomes useless and is now of a deterrent rather than a solution.

    I'm trying to find somewhere that will sell ground beetles that I can introduce in the hope that by introducing a natural predator will manage the issue but can't find anywhere that sells them (maybe better just taking a couple of jars to woodlands and rehoming them?)

    I've a number of bird feeders in the garden in the hope that maybe some of the local birds will lend a hand but this doesn't seem to be helping either.

    Does anyone have any suggestions that I've not tried or advice to manage the problem before I lose my mind? I'd be happy to introduce plants to the garden that maybe drive them off somewhere else if anyone has any suggestions?

    There's a couple of areas of ivy and a large plant that has sweet pea in it they seem to congregate around along with a buddleia that they seem to be a fan of.

    Literally any help and advice would be hugely appreciated!
     
  2. Sirius

    Sirius Total Gardener

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    The trick with controlling snails and slugs is to be on top of it all the time.
    I put out pellets all year round. Even during those slightly warmer, wet spells in mid-winter.
    And I also distribute the pellets all over the garden. In the shrubs and areas behind my greenhouse. Not just the borders.

    Still have the odd slug or snail, but not enough to cause significant damage
     
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    • Black Dog

      Black Dog Gardener of useful things

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      Don't use beer traps. All they do is attracting even more of those things.

      Try to find their favourite sleeping spot. I found out they don't eat catnip, but love to crawl beneath them so every other day I lift the plant up and grab everything that's slithering beneath.

      Another point: how are you disposing them? Some kill them and throw them into the compost bin, but in my experience they only serve as food there. And you never know wether they are full with eggs or not. So I drown them in water with dish soap and flush them down the toilet.

      IMG-20210613-WA0012.jpeg
       
    • ScotchCorner

      ScotchCorner Apprentice Gardener

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      I've got a dog poo bin outside so they get wrapped up in a plastic bag which is sealed and thrown in there. I double check it every night to make sure there's not been any escapes.

      Good point about the beer traps.

      My suspicion is they're living in this plant in the corner where they're not easily accessible until they come out to eat in the evening.
       

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    • Black Dog

      Black Dog Gardener of useful things

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      Most of the time they prefer a spot that's on or near the ground.
      Preferably damp and covered, as they like to cling to the top.
      You could try to place an old bin lid or low plant pot without holes upside down in the shade. Maybe cut an opening into 2-3 sides so they can easily get in. Something to munch on like cucumber peels, a rotting tomato or a few salad leaves are always welcome. Then wait a day or to, turn it over and pick them off.
       
    • john558

      john558 Total Gardener

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      It's a never ending fight in the wet weather.

      I have Snails crawling up the poles that support the Runner Beans and eating the tips of the beans. Apart from picking them off and putting a few pellets down, what can you do?
       
    • NigelJ

      NigelJ Total Gardener

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      I don't think anywhere sells groundbeetles, you could try encouraging them by making a suitable habitat for them and then it takes awhile for numbers to build.
      You can buy nematodes that you water on, once warm enough, these will deal with slugs. Does require repeat treatment though.
       
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      • Macraignil

        Macraignil Gardener

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        Make a garden pond to encourage some frogs to live in your garden.They are said to be very good at snail and slug control. The water will also help attract birds that will feed on the slugs and snails and providing shelter and habitat for ground beetles, hedgehogs and birds will also help.

        You could leave out a length of damp proof course that will be a good place to find the slugs hiding during the day.

        Also there is a method of brewing your own slug parasite nematodes explained in this article.

        Centipedes are also said to be good at eating slug eggs and I see more of them in the garden here than ground beetles but I think the bulk of the slug and snail control here is carried out by birds that seem to be searching about the place for food a lot of the time. I don't provide feeders for them but have planted a lot of shrubs that provide berries they can eat and shelter and as mentioned they seem to like to visit the pond more than I expected.

        Happy gardening!
         
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        • flounder

          flounder Gardener

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          I have frogs, slow worms, hedgehogs and a host of other gastropod eating things in my garden. I also have more than my fair share of gastropods!
          Beer traps do not work effectively....and the dog used to drink it. I pellet from valentines day until bonfire night, plus I put down disposable traps, ie grapefruit or orange halves after finishing them. Then I bin the contents, which, on a good(bad) night can contain a dozen or so. I also launch a few onto the roof, but this can get a bit messy.
          I'm finding quite a bit of success with coffee grounds but my garden smells a bit like Costas after it's rained.
          Crushed eggshells doesn't work for me but crushed lavender and rosemary works, but it's too pungent for me. It does keep the cats away though.
          Epsom salt granules looked like it was a winner, but I need to trial it a bit more
           
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          • Logan

            Logan Total Gardener

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            I wouldn't put pellets down because they'll eat them and then the birds, frogs and hedgehogs will eat the slugs. The birds that eat them are black birds and thrushes.
            It's the weather mainly when it's wet they'll come out.We have hedgehogs and I think that they make a difference.
             
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            • CarolineL

              CarolineL Total Gardener

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              Apparently the nasty metaldehyde pellets have not been allowed since March 2021 - the blue ones are now ferric phosphate which is not injurious to birds etc, but apparently can still cause trouble for earthworms if too many are spread! Many websites are still going on about metaldehyde poisoning even though you cannot get them. IMHO the new ones are ok but they go mouldy on pot surfaces and the mould is pretty nasty for the seedlings I'm trying to protect!
               
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