Fight killer snails - 10 tips

Fighting killer snails can be tough, but you can succeed with the right means and methods. We give you our best tips for fighting killer snails in your garden.

This is how you get rid of killer snails

It's the Spanish forest snail that has been nicknamed the killer snail. The reason for that is that this scoundrel eats both dead animals and insects but also live snails and smaller animals. You recognize it in your garden by its reddish-brown color.

Means and methods against killer snails

Here you get tips on different ways and remedies against killer snails in your garden. Most effective is to combine several methods simultaneously. Good luck with your snail hunt!

1. Create a snail trap

Snail traps with beer can help you get rid of killer snails. The snails are drawn to the smell of beer and fall into the traps and drown. When one has fallen in, it attracts more who meet the same fate. The advantage of beer traps is that they kill gently. No matter what you think of these invertebrates, you should never torture them to death. Beer traps are available to buy ready-made, but you can also create your own. You can simply dig a bowl into the ground and pour in beer. Another option is to build a trap from a PET bottle. Cut off the top and turn the spout inwards. Fill with beer and place the bottle on the ground. The snails can crawl in but not get out. Whatever type of trap you choose, fill the traps with beer in the evening and empty them on the drowned snails the next morning. Fill the traps again in the evening for a new night's catch.

You can also set traps and use ferrous sulfate against snails. It's a remedy that can be bought in the form of small grains that the snail eats up and that kills it. It's is harmless to other animal species, but other snail species are affected, which is good to keep in mind.

Most effective is to combine several methods at once when you want to get rid of killer snails

2. Copper tape and metals

One method you can try on more demarcated surfaces is to put up copper obstacles against killer snails. Get copper wire against snails or copper tape and fasten around the surface that you want to protect from the snails' attack. You attach copper wire or copper tape against snails around, for example, pots and pallet collars. The copper generates electrical voltage when the snail wants to pass, which at best causes it to retreat. The disadvantage is that the larger the snail, the less it is affected by the shocks, so the method is not one hundred percent but still well worth testing.

If you have pallet collars or other types of growing boxes in your garden, there's also another method where you use metal to protect your plants from snail invasion. There are special edges to buy that prevent the snails from getting over the rim. If you are handy in metal craft, you can also bend your own snail barriers.

3. Electric fence

If you have really big problems with killer snails, it may be worth investing in an electric fence. The current in an electric fence is weak so you don't harm yourself or animals in the environment, but large snails die in contact with the current. Small snails can get under so it's a method that is good to combine with other barriers or means so that all your snail worries are addressed.

4. Sodium metasilicate

Brush sodium metasilicate on your pots and growing boxes. It is alkaline and gives the snails discomfort when they want to pass over. The product is harmless to animals, humans and the environment once it has dried. You may have to repeat the procedure a few times during the season to keep the product effective throughout the period when the snails are active. To protect the sodium metasilicate from rain, you can combine it with mounting a protruding edge on your planting box.

5. Special tools

There are special tools to buy to eradicate the killer snails on your plot. With the tool, you can easily pick up and throw away the snails without having to handle them with your hands. A good alternative if you find that particular task unpleasant. Killer snails like shade and moisture where they crawl in and hide from the sun. When you go out hunting, look for example in compost and under plants with larger leaves. There is also a great chance of finding them under pots and buckets, especially if they are upside down. The best prospect to succeed in the hunt is to be out picking late evening or early morning before the sun rises or when it rains.

6. Cutting

An effective method that can be perceived as unpleasant for you to perform it is to cut or chop the snails in half. Wear gloves, as snails can carry listeria bacteria, and go on the hunt. The best time to go out and look is in the early morning, late evening or when it is raining. Bring a pair of big scissors or a shovel and cut or chop off the heads of the snails you find. Feel free to leave them on the spot and come back a while later. Killer snails eat their species relatives, so now that you have created a bait, you have the chance to take care of even more of them.

Killer snails are not something we want but they are living beings and should never be tormented to death

7. Freezing

One method that is not as messy as cutting or chopping the snails is to pick them and put them in a plastic bag. When you have finished your collection, tie the bag together and put it in the freezer where the killer snails die. Then you can throw them away or even compost them.

8. Nematodes

You can wage your fight against killer snails with biological control in the form of nematodes. Nematodes are microscopically small worms that infect snails and the infection kills them. Killer snails like to eat each other, so when one has become infected and eaten by another, it in turn also becomes infected and so on. You buy the nematodes in the form of a powder that contains dormant larval stages of the nematodes. The powder is dissolved in water. You collect a number of killer snails and cut them behind the head and put them in the nematode mixture. You then lay out the snail parts on the plot where snails usually hang out. They become the bait that attracts others and when they eat the nematode-infested they get the infection and die and so on. A domino effect that has proven to be very effective in various tests. However, it's good to know that the method is controversial. There are researchers who believe that nematodes can cause damage in nature, so read up carefully before you start using nematodes.

9. Prevention

Unfortunately, it's often you who introduces killer snails in your garden. They can come with clumps of roots in the form of eggs when you get plants from other growers who have killer snails in their garden. They can also come home when you buy plants. Before you take home pots and plants, examine the soil and lumps of soil carefully to detect eggs from killer snails. The eggs look like white small balls with a diameter of about 3-4 mm. They often sit together with 20-30 pieces in a lump. It only takes one or a couple of weeks for the eggs to hatch, so when you find them, it's important to act quickly and get rid of them and possibly the whole plant.

10. Avoid

Killer snails are not something we want in our gardens or on our plots, but they are living beings and should never be tormented to death. Methods such as salting and liming should never be used when eradicating snails. These methods also affect the surrounding environment and should therefore be avoided for several reasons.

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