Snails in the garden are extremely unpopular because they can become a real nuisance relatively quickly. These slimy nuisances can quickly eat away at numerous plants, which will eventually die. A sure sign of snails are feeding spots and holes in plants. But traces of faeces and slime on the leaves also indicate snails. The damage caused by these pests can be serious. Slug pellets are often used to combat snails.
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There is slug pellets, which the snails take orally, and those that are ingested by the snails through contact or touch via the mucous membrane. Sometimes the animals die on the spot, sometimes this agent only kills them days later, so that they can still retreat to their shelter, depending on the type and active ingredient of the slug pellets. Before they die, however, they can still leave eggs.
- different types of slug pellets with different active ingredients
- Preparations contain: alkaloids, salts, hormonal agents, methiocarb or metaldehyde
- Others contain alternative active ingredient iron (III) phosphate and other natural active ingredients
- Metiocarb and metaldehyde are so-called molluscicides
- act in the slug pellets as a contact or stomach poison
- are contained in a 4-6% concentration in slug pellets
- Organic slug pellets contain, among other things, natural ingredients such as wheat, potato flakes, yeast, garlic, neem or liverwort
- Preparations also contain the active ingredient iron-III-phosphate
- This slug pellets is much more environmentally friendly and non-toxic.
Commercially available slug pellets are effective against both slugs and snails, such as Roman snails, which are under nature protection. This form of snail control has the disadvantage that it attracts snails from a relatively large area. So you definitely attract snails from the neighborhood with it. The snails often leave behind their eggs before they die.
Slug pellets are used to combat slugs. It is an ingestible and contact poison which, depending on the type of slug pellets or active ingredient, is poisonous for children, dogs, cats and other beneficial garden dwellers.
The active ingredient methiocarb is toxic to humans and animals. In addition, it can get into the groundwater if used improperly. Snails that have ingested this poison or come into contact with it, but before they die, secrete large amounts of poisoned mucus, which then also kills natural predators such as hedgehogs, toads or shrews.
This active ingredient in slug pellets is also toxic for children and pets such as dogs or cats. Therefore, one should avoid slug pellets with these stomach poisons if possible, especially if children or pets live in the household. Some residues of these molluscicides have also been detected in vegetables.
The use of organic slug pellets is harmless and there is no waiting period until harvest. If the active ingredient iron (III) phosphate gets into the soil, it breaks down into its natural components iron and phosphate.
Organic slug pellets
Organic slug pellets are particularly environmentally friendly. It contains, among other things, the already mentioned iron-III-phosphate. Both iron and phosphate also occur naturally in the soil, where they are taken up as nutrients by the roots of plants.
This slug pellets are water resistant, so they won’t disintegrate when it rains. It is just as harmless to plants as it is to pets and other garden dwellers such as hedgehogs or toads. The agent is absorbed by the snails and causes them to stop eating relatively quickly. The animals then retreat to their shelter, where they eventually perish.
Another advantage of this environmentally friendly slug pellets is that slugs that have ingested this remedy do not leave any poisonous slime trails that could be dangerous for other small animals. The slug pellets Ferramol with the active ingredient iron-III-phosphate, for example, received a very good test result from the magazine Ökotest.
In addition to this, other products than organic slug pellets are also commercially available. These preparations contain, among other things, plant extracts from garlic, neem or liverwort. These agents are usually diluted with water according to the manufacturer’s instructions and the affected plants are sprayed with it.
Slug pellets should always be used as early as possible. Once the snails have spread, it becomes increasingly difficult to get rid of them. However, it is usually not possible to get rid of the snails completely.
In the case of organic slug pellets, no more than 4-6 g of this granulate per square meter is required for a promising application. This corresponds to about a slightly heaped teaspoon. It is available in different pack sizes.
Iron III phosphate-based preparations are particularly safe to use. This is because the raw material of these products also occurs in nature and is therefore harmless to humans and animals or beneficial organisms. As a result, it can be used in vegetable and ornamental plant cultivation without any problems.
This agent should be spread over a large area to give the snails as many feeding spots as possible. This is important because if the snails eat enough other food, they will excrete that drug and possibly survive.
If most or all of the slug pellets have disappeared the next day, this indicates a relatively heavy infestation. As a result, it should be sprinkled again. According to the approval, organic slug pellets can be used up to six times a year.
For slug pellets with the active ingredients metaldehyde and methiocarb, the required amount is 0.3-0.8 g per square meter, depending on the product. That’s about 18-40 grains of this granulate. Preparations with these two active ingredients may be used a maximum of two times per infestation. After their use, a waiting period of at least two weeks must be observed. Care must be taken to ensure that such resources are used properly. The information provided by the respective manufacturer should be observed.
What to look out for when using it
- The best time to apply slug pellets is in the evening hours.
- Then the snails become active.
- When distributing, be sure to follow the instructions on the packaging!
- This can protect beneficial insects such as hedgehogs.
- A corresponding dosing aid is often included in the packs.
- Always wear gloves when spreading the slug pellets!
- Open packs and spilling leftovers should be avoided.
- If the slug pellets dissolve in the rain, it may have to be sprinkled on.
Slug pellets differ in potency, package size and price depending on the manufacturer. Manufacturers of slug pellets are, for example, the companies Bayer, Combo, Celaflor and Neudorff.
Ferramol from Neudorff and Biomol from Bayer are particularly recommended. Both are particularly environmentally friendly because they only contain natural active ingredients and iron-III-phosphate. They are non-toxic to humans, pets and all beneficial creatures and, despite everything, very effective.
- Combo slug pellets with the active ingredient metaldehyde are available from EUR 9.20 per kilo.
- Protect from Bayer with the active ingredient metaldehyde is available from 11.33 per kilo.
- Biomol from Bayer with ferric phosphate is available from EUR 9.90 per kilo.
- Ferramol von Neudorff with iron III phosphate costs from EUR 6.76 per kilo.
There are a number of things you can do to prevent a snail infestation from happening in the first place. It starts with the purchase of vegetable or flower seeds. Here you should already prefer a snail-resistant variety. However, this does not offer 100% protection against these pests.
The paths between the individual beds can be designed with gravel or other rough materials, for example, which can keep slime away. Plants that snails don’t like at all, such as peppermint, thyme or garlic, can be planted around endangered plants. Spraying the plants with a solution of liverwort extract and water also acts as a deterrent.
Snails love damp and cool areas such as accumulations of leaves, bark mulch or compost. Bark mulch can be mixed with sharp-edged materials such as quartz sand, powdered rock or broken eggshells. You should not water in the evening, but in the morning, so that the soil can dry by the evening. The snails become active in the evening and then look for cool and moist areas. It is best to water each plant individually and not over a large area.
Snails generally avoid sunny areas. It is therefore advisable, provided the plants permit, to plant or sow both flowers and vegetables in sunny locations.
In order to destroy possible hiding places for the animals, it is advisable to regularly loosen the soil well. Thorough loosening or hoeing is particularly useful in late autumn or early spring, as the eggs of the snails overwinter in the ground and can be destroyed as a result.
Alternatives to slug pellets
Although slug pellets are very effective, they also kill Roman snails, which are protected, and, depending on the active ingredient, other animal garden dwellers. So it can’t hurt to find out about alternatives.
Settle natural enemies
In order to combat snails or to prevent them from spreading, you should create suitable habitats or shelters for their natural enemies such as toads, lizards, hedgehogs, blindworms, but also various bird species.
Other predators include ducks, chickens and pheasants. However, these animals need a correspondingly large plot of land and marten-proof accommodation. In addition, they are not limited to the snails, but may also find the salad bed very tasty.
Areas that are particularly at risk can also be protected with a snail fence. These are usually made of plastic or metal and have a corresponding edge above that the snails cannot overcome.
The beer trap is a classic when it comes to fighting snails. For such a trap, you fill a container with beer and dig it into the ground up to the brim. The snails are then attracted by the beer, fall into the beer-filled container and drown. From time to time you have to empty this container and set it up again if necessary. If possible, the trap should not be set up near endangered plants. Then the snails would certainly choose the plants.
Appropriate lettuce hoods can not only protect lettuce plants, but also other vegetables and ornamental plants from damage caused by snails. When setting up the hoods, it is important to cover the lower edge well with soil to prevent the snails from crawling under the hoods.