Poisoning snails is something that you should not do. Poison can damage both your garden and the environment and there are much cheaper and natural alternatives. But how do you get rid of snails without poison effectively?
We’ll discuss some of these natural remedies that you can use to get rid of snails and why they are better than using poison:
Why You Shouldn’t Use Poison
There are many reasons why you shouldn’t use poison to kill snails. Many commercially produced insecticides have been boycotted by gardeners because of their harmful properties.
Here are a couple of reasons why you shouldn’t use poison:
Bad for the Environment
In this day and age, we need to be more careful than ever about how we impact our planet.
Using poison is harmful to the environment because, once it is consumed by snails, it makes its way into the food chain which can then poison snail predators. It can also damage plants that help to reduce co2 in our atmosphere.
Harmful to Other Animals
If something other than a snail consumes it, such as a bird or a hedgehog, they will also get ill and quite likely die.
You also need to be aware if you have pets, they can also become seriously ill if they are exposed to this poison. Take them to the vets immediately if you think they have consumed any snail poison.
How to Kill Snails Without Poison
Whilst we would advise against trying to kill snails, if you have a serious infestation then it is much better to use natural means to kill them rather than poison.
Therefore, here are a couple of examples of household items that will kill snails:
Many people are already aware that salt kills snails. It works by mixing with the mucus and causing water to leave the snail’s body, dehydrating and eventually killing them.
Whilst it is effective, some people dislike using salt as it is arguably unethical due to the fact that it is a painful process for the snails.
Snails are attracted to beer because of the smell the yeast produces. However, coming into contact with the ethanol in beer will be toxic to them. Some people suggest that it works by paralysing the snails and then causing them to drown in the liquid.
How to Deter Snails Without Killing them
There are also a number of ways to keep your plants free from snail harm without causing any damage to the snails themselves. Below is a short list of some simple things you can do to keep the snails at bay from your plants.
Use Difficult to Cross Terrain
Snails hate tough, jagged and sharp textures on their slippery skin. By creating terrains that are uncomfortable to snails, you’ll often find they avoid the area all together. Here are a few terrains to use:
- Gravel – It’s bumpy, uncomfortable to crawl across and gravel can even stick to the outside of snails. Sprinkle it around the edges of borders to deter snails without using poison.
- Slate – Sharp and jagged edges on slate can dig right into the skin of snails making it unpleasant to crawl across.
- Mulch – Whether it’s bark shards, wood chippings or leaves; snails can struggle to pull themselves across some mulch.
Use Repellent Smells
There are certain smells that will put snails off going near certain parts of your garden. Here are a few smells to try:
Pet hair will smell like your pets and to snails, they will be able to smell a predator and therefore will vacate the area.
This is an evolutionary trait to protect them from being eaten. Simply get some of your pet hair clippings and sprinkle them over flower beds that you want to keep snail free, and this will help.
Snails dislike the smell of rosemary which is good for us because it can easily be used to repel them.
To repel snails, you can either grow rosemary in your garden or alternatively, you could rub the herb on the sides of plant pots that are often disturbed by snails. The smell will drive them away and stop them from climbing up the pots and onto your flowers.
Using these methods causes no damage to the environment and they can work just as effectively as a commercially produced insecticide to keep snails from getting to your plants.
To summarise, snail poison is bad for the environment, your plants, and other wildlife. If you need to kill snails then use salt or beer instead of commercial insecticides.
You can also deter snails without killing them at all. To do this, you can use methods such as using rough terrains, like gravel and mulch or placing smells around your garden that snails dislike. These smells may include rosemary or pet hair.
Ryan is a keen gardener from the UK who’s spent years dealing with countless, common pests over the years so knows the ins and outs of how to deal with pests in the garden