Snails and slugs are a real challenge to a gardener’s patience, but there are many choices on how to deal with them which you might not have been aware of. The good news is that many of these solutions to the snail & slug problem are non-toxic!
Remember the IPM (Integrated Pest Management) approach of starting with the least toxic?
Here are some ideas:
1. Hand-picking and disposing by your choice. This would include stomping on, throwing in the street, dropping in a bucket of salt water, etc..!
2. Coax them out of the flowerbed by laying a flat board on the ground. They will crawl under it to get away from the heat of the sun, then just swish them off into the trash.
3. Put out a saucer of stale beer- They are attracted to the scent of it and drown! And remember, their arms are quite short and they do not swim well.
4. Snails cannot tolerate copper. Apply a copper band around flower pots and they will not cross it. These are available commercially, or you can make your own.
5. Scratchy things such as crushed eggshells and diatomacious earth (This will need replacing if it gets wet) work well.
6. Possums, ducks, turtles, tortoises, rats, some birds, and snakes, will prey on snails and slugs.
7. A predatory snail Rumina decollata or decollate snail will feed on young snails and may be worth a try but they also may nibble on young plants. It takes a little time to get them established, many people have been pleased with the results.
8. If these fail, try a pet-safe snail bait such as Monterey Sluggo.
Use baits weekly for at least three weeks to get all generations.
A word of caution if you have been using a pelleted form of snail bait- it can be dangerous around pets as it looks like food to them. The finer granule type is much safer – but please be careful and read the label & use as directed.