Snails are a common pest in backyards. They can cause havoc in your garden. Seeing snails crawling around the backyard is very annoying. A backyard full of plants is also, sadly, a massive draw for all kinds of pests. Snails are herbivores, so their primary target in your backyard is the plants in your garden. They may be slow, but they can quickly cause damages to them. They can easily destroy your garden beds by eating seedlings down and leaving large holes in your plants.
You can remove Snails with your hands or by putting up a barrier or fence around them. You can also use traps and bait or make repellents. Finally, using pesticides is a sure option. These simple tricks can safeguard your plants from a potential snail invasion.
In this article, we will talk about how to get rid of snails in your backyard. Fortunately, you can lessen and get rid of them and protect your plants. There are various snail-control measures to reduce the damages that snails can cause to our backyard. The following easy and very helpful tips can help you keep your backyard snail-free.
What Attract Snails in Your Backyard?
Snails eat most vegetables and ornamental plants, especially when they are young. They are amazing climbers and can damage fruit trees. Worse, they will kill plants, which means major production losses. They also eat decomposing organic matter, like rotten leaves.
Snails are the greatest threat in warm climates and damp places frequently exposed to moisture and fog. Snails breed in spring and fall and lay eggs under rocks, pots, and logs. They’re inactive in the winter and hide in a bunch under unoccupied plant pots and other protected areas. But, in places with mild winters, they can be active year-round. When temperatures are high or on bright sunny days, they’ll seek shady, cool places to hide from the bright light and beat the heat.
Snails are hermaphrodites, which means they can lay eggs after mating with any other snail. So, it is very easy for them to reproduce. They can lay eggs up to six times a year.
There is nothing more annoying than seeing tiny mounds of dirt all over your supposedly perfect yard. These formations are created by ants that have chosen your yard as the place where they will build their colony. Read our article to find out why you have so many ant hills in your yard.
6 Ways to Get Rid of Snails in Your Backyard
Snails have considerable human relevance, including as food for several species. Their shells are incorporated into jewelry and used as decorative objects. Snail slime is also filtered and added to other ingredients to make various skin products.
But, some snails carry parasitic diseases, such as schistosomiasis (also known as bilharzia, a disease caused by parasitic worms), which can be transmitted to humans. So, we must be careful and aware of the types of snails we encounter. Besides, snails tend to invade backyards, which is a huge problem. Here is how to get rid of them:
- Pull them out by Hand
- Put up barriers or fences around
- Use traps
- Use baits
- Put repellents
- Use pesticides
1. Pull Them Out by Hand
Pulling out snails by hand is the easiest and most natural way to keep them out of your backyard. Hunting them down yourself may be the most direct approach to slashing down or exterminating snails from your garden. The best time to catch them is in the morning or evening, when they’re most in action. You should look for snails every day and pay attention to their potential hiding places.
They love to hang out in dark, moist, and cool places, so it is easy to locate them. Frequently, the only clue to their presence is plant damages and trails. When you find a snail trail, you should destroy the track so other snails won’t follow it as they tend to follow each other.
Once you find some snails, dispose of them in a container with soapy water or by spraying diluted ammonia. Mix one part of ammonia with 10 parts of water in a spray bottle. If you had the chance to find their eggs, you also have to smash them.
If you kill the eggs before they hatch, it will represent fewer snails to worry about. If you don’t want to kill them, make sure to move them to a place far away from your backyard. The snail population can increase even after the smallest amount of rain, so sneak out of your backyard and go snail hunting before their population becomes uncontrollable.
2. Put Up Barriers or Fences Around
Putting a snail fence serves as a mechanical barrier. Its border prevents snails from going into the bed of the plants. Surrounding copper tape barriers, snails will get a small shock when they cross over. A chemical reaction happens when they cross over the metal, which causes an uncomfortable feeling on their skin. When snails touch copper, they experience an intolerable electrical shock that will swiftly encourage them to turn around.
Snail fences come in various forms. Aside from copper-tape barriers, you can also use metal, plastic, mesh, and electric fences, which can be a great barrier. Electricity creates an uncomfortable feeling in the snail’s body, which leads them to turn away.
This sensation can only be felt by mollusks, so it is safe for other animals. These varieties of barriers or fences are available in garden centers, home improvement stores, and online.
Surround your backyard or garden with an abrasive barrier to deter snails. These animals avoid crawling over dusty or scratchy surfaces or anything dry.
The best alternatives include diatomaceous earth, ashes, fur, broken eggshells, sand, gravel, sawdust, cinders, cedar chips, and wood ash. These items make it difficult for snails to pass and affect their movements, keeping them out. Simply looking at whatever you are using will not change the soil quality.
3. Use Traps
Setting up traps is another powerful move to get rid of snails. You can make non-fatal traps by building and using traps within which you can seize them alive and put them away. Capturing and relocating them is an environmentally friendly way to control the snail population in your backyard.
A popular way to trap snails is to use beer. These traps are a natural way to control pests. Because it is fermented, it attracts and kills pests. To attract the snails, fill small containers with beer are put them close to plants.
Snails will be attracted by the smell of beer and will fall into the trap and drown. Make sure to check your traps every day and take out dead snails before they decompose, so it won’t attract any others, and replace your homemade snail-trap mixture.
Snails that don’t come out during the day can be captured with traps. Therefore, the snails slowly but surely lessen, and their population can be reduced. Remember that to bait a snail, you have to attract it, so keep your bait and trap at a safe distance from your plants.
4. Use Bait
Putting bait around the perimeter can prevent the re-invasion of snails in your backyard. You can buy ready-made snail bait pellets or make your own. The best natural bait is a mixture of yeast and honey or sugar.
To use this method, fill a wide-mouthed small container halfway with the mixture and place it where the snails gather. Slightly bury the container to make it easier for them to crawl inside of it. Soaked oatmeal, porridge, cucumber slices, and orange or melon peels, combined with some fruit leftovers, also attract snails.
When deciding to use snail bait pellets, follow the label instructions for them to be effective. Snail bait pellets should not be applied directly onto your plants unless specified otherwise on the product label. Bait is most effective when applied after watering the plants in your backyard or after rainfall because snails are more active in damp and moist conditions.
Keep your children and pets away from the areas treated to eradicate snails. When the snails get out of their hideout, they will be attracted by the bait, move in, and drown. If you use several traps in your backyard, it is easy to see how attractive different baits are.
5. Put Repellents
Snails hate the strong smell of certain plants. Thus, mint, thyme, lavender, rosemary, sage, and parsley are all great additions to your backyard as they also happen to repel snails. Many gardeners also proved that garlic, lawn chamomiles, and chives act as natural pest control. These plants and herbs repel most snails and may have a blocking effect when planted in your backyard or used to make an extract.
If you were planning on planting some of these herbs, plant them around the border of your backyard or between at-risk plants to help guard off snails. Using coffee grounds and sprinkling them around your plants or making a homemade snail repellent cold coffee spray are some other great options as the caffeine in coffee kills snails.
Your next option is to use vinegar. It is a good ingredient for slug sprays and to remove slug slime. Vinegar does kill snails. It destroys them by mixing with their mucus, drying it out, and then terminating them. Since vinegar serves as an herbicide, it should not be sprayed onto snails when they are on your plants.
Other substances that work in the same way to repel snails are salt and baking soda. Surround your plants with these to push back snails. Salt and baking soda dry snails out so they won’t go near it. The theory behind these techniques is that snails hate to crawl across a particular texture and very strong-smelling matters and substances.
6. Using Pesticides
Pesticides are used to control various pests and disease carriers, such as rats, mice, mosquitoes, ticks, and snails. There are many different types of pesticides, each meant to be effective against specific pests.
Pesticides are used in agriculture to control weeds, insect infestations, and diseases. But, pesticides have a bad effect. Groundwater and soil can be contaminated by these if used to treat outdoor pests.
Pesticides used outdoors may harm more than just the pest you single out. Indeed, wild animals, including birds and butterflies, may also get harmed by ingesting toxic pesticides. Although very effective, pesticides are associated with risks that may not offset the consequences.
Snails are some of the most damaging and challenging pests to control but they do play a significant role in the environment by eating decomposing matter. They are fond of moist and dark areas. That being said, the primary goal is to eliminate habitats by cleaning and digging your backyard as snails and their eggs hide under weeds.
It is important to pull out all rotten leaves, as well as boards and piles of debris they can hide under. By making your backyard an unsuitable place for them to live in, the infestation may lessen.
Also, snails have many natural enemies, including rats, ducks, toads, wild birds, and snakes. Encouraging more of these into your backyard will help decrease the number of snails. However, it rarely is effective enough to control your backyard.
If you have been gardening for quite some time now, you know that there are organisms that want to destroy the garden that you worked so hard on. One of these pests are snails. They may seem harmless because they are soft and slow-moving, but these slimy creatures can easily wreak havoc and destroy your plants. Once you see snails in your garden, prepare for war.
As you can see, there are many ways to control the snail population in your backyard. Snails can be controlled by making simple changes in your backyard conditions through the use of different kinds of methods that we tackled in this article. Depending on your preferences, you can select a method at your convenience. A combination of techniques might work great. On the other hand, there is no way to wipe out snails from your backyard, but you can manage their numbers and protect your most vulnerable plants from damages caused by them.