This year's? Are you looking for something newer than Sluggo or
Escar-go? They have both worked well for me.
Of course, the old reliable beer cup always works, but it can be a bit
messy. You can also set boards in the garden at night, and kill all
the slugs that hide under them the next day.
"Maybe you'd like to ask the Wizard for a heart."
"ElissaAnn" < email@example.com>
I don't have a problem with snails but rather slugs. So, I built raised
beds made from rough 4x4s - the slugs won't crawl over them because the
rough lumber tears up their soft bellies and they can't get under them.
Once I removed those that were trapped inside, I didn't have a problem.
Mulch is also a great barrier for them. I was having a problem with the
slugs munching on my flowers, but once I put the mulch down, the flowers
thrived. I just use regular pine bark mulch.
And, of course, there's DE, but that washes away. The mulch was a much
better long term solution.
Zone 5a in Canada's Far East.
I just noticed that Lee Valley carries copper meshing 5 inches wide and
a hundred feet long for $30 CDN. Slugs and snails won't cross copper, so
if the area is manageable, you can surround it with the copper.
From what I've read, it won't be as effective. Would you not be able to
get at least a season out of the mesh before it starts to tarnish? That
way, you need only clean it with regular tarnish removers every fall,
and reinstall in the Spring. Also, olive oil helps retard the tarnish,
so that would extend its life each season.
I've never used copper mesh myself. I've had great success with the
rough lumber and mulch. I'd be curious to hear of people's experiences
I've read that you need at least a 3 in. wide strip (solid copper foil)
or the critters will cross it. Don't know about a 5 in. mesh, sounds
like it would work. I'm going to experiment with a 3-4 penny wide
barrier on a low-lying bowl of beer and see if the slugs will cross
that. Beer works great but the results are a bit gross and is more
effective at attracting slugs than snails (I've got both in abundance).
If pennies or copper mesh works I'd probably install it under a ledge
mounted on the edge of my raised beds which are made of 2" x 6" x 4ft
(or 8ft) redwood. I wasn't planning on removing any copper barrier I
install as I live in zone 9b and I plant winter crops. Slugs and snails
are year round around here. Pennies would certainly be cheaper than Cu
foil or mesh.
I don't bother with bait and traps unless I have slugs in a contained
area - for the same reasons. Disposing of the buggers and laying the
traps makes it very labour intensive. Guess that's why I like the
lumber. Once it is down, there's no labour involved until I replace them
in ten or fifteen years.
To me, the copper would be ideal for places where it would be difficult
to place the lumber and/or the mulch. I have one spot in particular
where I think the copper would be a possible solution - but for
everything else, it's the lumber and mulch. Are your raised beds made
from rough or smooth lumber? (I don't think I see much redwood around here)
Come to think of it....is there enough copper in a penny to deter the
slugs? The US penny has only 2.4% copper (though it is the plating).
Curious to know if it works.
Zone 5a in Canada's Far East. (Winter crops...what's that? :)
Ok, I've done the penny experiment and two concentric rows of touching,
offset pennies (US) around a shallow plastic bowl with a 1/2" of beer on
a flat piece of 15" sq cardboard with the bowl inserted in a hole of the
same size in the cardboard. I layed the whole thing on my gazania bed
which I know has lots of slugs and snails...the result: It works!
There were numerous slug/snail mucus trails on the cardboard but not a
single critter in the beer. Twenty feet away a similar bowl of beer
placed within the gazanias with no barrier had about two dozen dead
slugs and 1 large snail. I would have put another ring of pennies on
the cardboard but I ran out of them, 2 rows seems enough. Btw, 1/3 of
the pennies were shiny, the rest the usual brown tarnish, coins were
chosen and placed randomly.
At 3/4" diameter per penny, I figure 16 pennies per foot and twice that
for two rows or 32 cents per foot. For a 4ft sq raised bed made of
smooth redwood it comes out to 32 x 16 = $5.12 . The Cu mesh sold by
Lee Valley (http://www.leevalley.com) is 27.5 per foot plus shipping on
the 100' roll($27.50). I'm thinking the pennies may last longer,
although I was thinking that the mesh could be hung vertically on a
ledge in an L-shape that would require critters to try to crawl over
most of both sides of the mesh 5" wide mesh...that would stop them for
sure. There's also the cost of glue going the penny route.
Someone mentioned mulching with cocoa mulch, is this stuff close to 100%
effective in warding off slugs/snails. 90% is not good enough, if one
of those 1"+ snails gets thru my young seedlings are goners...learned
that the hard way...would a 4-6" wide cocoa mulch band around raised
beds be sufficient? Slugs/snails around here have no problem going up
my raised beds as they are only 6" high.
I still haven't decided what to do but need to act soon...any further
That's fascinating. Even a control! I'm impressed :)
I'm gonna add the penny barrier to my list for pest control. The cost
isn't too excessive - though for me, I would use it in areas where mulch
or rough lumber don't work. And as you suggest, there are places where a
mesh might work well and the pennies would be a pain. All are viable
options. I think you only need to mix and match as needed.
Mulch will work really well, last about two-three years and add organic
material to your soil as it breaks down. I buy just the regular (not the
expensive red) cedar mulch at Walmart for less than $3 a bag (CDN$). The
slugs won't crawl over anything that tears up it's soft belly. DE also
works but will wash away in a heavy rain.
It's good to know that the spirit of experimentation lives on! I have
nothing to add to your finding.
Perhaps it would be possible to make an electric fence for snails,
and energise it with a 9 volt battery? A strip of copper mesh or
galvanised steel with a 0.25 cm strip of plastic hot-glued along its
centre and bare copper wire hot-glued along the top middle of that
plastic strip should achieve what I have in mind. It might be good
enough to just have the dissimilar metals, sans battery; when a snail's
slime connects Cu and Zn the small galvanic potential might be
disuasive enough. I'd try this myself, except we are in drought and
there's not a snail to be found anywhere. :-(
I've heard that snails don't like crossing a rough surface. Perhaps
with a bed having timber edging you could slice up some emery cloth
(e.g., from a roll for sanders) and hot glue a continuous strip of it
onto the outside VERTICAL face of the timber slabs? This would place
it out of the way so it can't get covered with soil or bridged by a
fallen twig or leaf.
... just a few ideas.
One last thing: my own investigations as a schoolboy zoologist led
to a discovery that a good pinch of washing powder dropped onto a
snail's body will elicit not only a fit of foaming but also a high-
pitched squeal. IKYN
John Savage (my news address is not valid for email)
I love this group for it's creativity. Cracks me UP. Hey, brilliant
about the emery board! great idea! Mulch has worked beautifully for me
- though I don't know why. Snail like cool moist dark places, so I
don't know why mulch would stop them, but hey, whatever works.
I love the experiment - that's great. Good job using a control group!
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