Snails and slugs are one of the notorious pests in our gardens and the damage they can do in a very short time can be devasting. We have seen a snail devour a complete large marigold seedling in a couple of hours. If not kept in check, you can find you have a snail and slug infestation as they are quick and heavy reproducers. Snails and slugs are normally ready to reproduce from six weeks old and can lay around 80 eggs; these eggs will hatch in about 2 weeks after being laid. A snail or slug will generally reproduce 5 times a year which means a total of 400 eggs a year. Controlling these are not always easy and having pets in your yard can make things difficult. Pet-friendly snail and slug killers will help you to keep the pests down while protecting your pets.
Picking Snail and Slugs by Hand
One of the most effective ways of killing snails is by hand, however, it can be very tedious and a bit disgusting. The easiest way we find is to go out at night with a torch, bucket and pair of gloves and pick the snails and slugs to dispose of. If you are looking during the day look in dark cool places like the lips of pots, nook and cranny in rock walls.
Setting Yeast Traps
Yeast traps can be very effective but can be harder to manage with pets. It is more manageable for us in aquaponics and similar raised garden beds. A yeast trap can be as simple a glass jar filled with a yeast product such as beer, vegemite. The snail or slug is attracted to the yeast product and will fall into the jar but be unable to climb back out.
Place an Upside-down Pot or Board in your Garden
This is a very easy method, this gives the slugs and snails somewhere during the warmth of the day. Just flip the pot or board over to check for snail and slugs then dispose of them.
Spray Fresh Coffee Grounds
To make this solution, mix one-part fresh coffee grounds to five parts water and spray it over mulch and onto plants. This works as caffeine is toxic to snails and slugs. We haven’t found instant or used coffee grounds to be very effective.
Sprinkle Egg Shells
Sprinkle crushed up eggshells around the edge of your seedling as a deterrent. Snails and slugs generally don’t like sharp edges, but we have found the odd brave snail to pass over the eggshells.
Sprinkle Elemental Iron Pellets
Elemental iron pellets is an organic snail and slug killer. We use the brand Protect Us and have found it to be quite effective. All ingredients that are used in this are either foods for human consumption or pharmaceuticals for humans. We try to avoid any sort of insecticide, organic or not, so we only use this when we have a large infestation of them and can’t control them with other methods.
These are the options we have tried for pet-friendly snail and slug killers. Have you come across any other effective organic options? Let us know in the comments below.