Snails And Slugs

Snails and slugs are soft-bodied animals that can be a real pest in the garden. Although they are very similar to each other, snails have hard shells and slugs do not. The mucus they leave behind wherever they crawl is the most characteristic sign of their presence. Both snails and slugs can cause serious damage in the garden and frequently remain unseen since they feed on rainy days or at night. They can be found hiding in damp places during the day under flower pots or thick groundcover.
Snails and slugs feed on decaying and living plant material including the leaves, stems, and below-ground parts. They produce large, ragged holes and can completely devour young seedlings. Snails and slugs can eat a wide variety of plant materials, but hostas, strawberries, lettuce, and cabbage are the most affected. Snail and slug damage begins in the spring and continues until the first frost. These pests are found in damp, wet areas since moisture is required for their survival. During a drought their activity decreases.
Discourage snails and slugs be removing mulch and leaf litter near the base of plants. When the pests are found, simply remove by handpicking or making traps. Use shallow pans of stale beer sunken deep enough so the container lip is even with the soil surface. Replace beer as necessary as it dries up or becomes diluted by rainfall. A pie pan suspended with nails over the pan of beer will help to keep out rain, as well as pets. Snails and slugs can also be attracted with a piece of cabbage or potato placed underneath a board, and then collected and destroyed during the day. You can also protect young seedlings by sprinkling diatomaceous earth around the plants. Diatomaceous earth is very sharp and scratches the skin of the soft-bodied critters and results in dehydration and death. Diatomaceous earth must be reapplied after a rain or watering.Pesticide baits are also effective, but should only be used as a last resort for controlling snails and slugs. Products containing metaldehyde bait can be used to control snails and slugs around certain fruits and vegetables however, many newer products now contain iron phosphate, which is much safer, and can be used around most fruit and vegetable plants in the garden. Iron phosphate will stop feeding the snails and slugs quickly, and is must less harmful to pets, birds, and non-target insects than metaldehyde. Any unconsumed iron phosphate bait added nutrients (iron and phosphorus) to the soil. Consult the label for specific crops it can be used around and also for information on the rate. Products containing mesurol should NOT be used in the home garden. Spinosad is a natural insecticide that will also kill cutworms, ants, and earwigs. As a reminder, when using any type of pesticide, always read the label, it is the law. Examples of available iron phosphates baits are:
• Bonide Slug Magic Pellets – Makes Slugs Disappear
• Gardens Alive Escar-Go (Slug & Snail Control)
• Garden Safe Slug & Snail Bait
• Monterey Sluggo – Kills Slugs & Snails
• Whitney Farms Slug & Snail Killer
• Natural Guard Bug, Slug & Snail Bait (also contains spinosad)
• Bonide Bug & Slug Killer (also contains spinosad)
• Gardens Alive Garden Pest Bait – Insect, Slug & Snail Bait (also contains spinosdad)
• Monterey Sluggo Plus (also contains spinosad)
• Monterey Ant Control Bait (also contains spinosad, & controls slugs)
For more information on snails and slugs, please visit the Home and Garden Information Center website at hgic.clemson.edu. Tune in on Tuesday nights to watch “Making it Grow” at 7pm on SCETV or mig.org. Email Outen at [email protected]
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