Question of the Week Number 1: March 26, 2020
“What is eating my plants and flowers at night, and how can I eliminate them? I see slimy lines on their leaves and on the ground.”
With all the rain many parts of Texas have been having, this is the time of year you can expect to see snails and slugs chowing down on tender new foliage.
They’re harbored in mulch and fallen leaves. They come out to feed at night. When you go out in the morning you find stripped plants and slime trails on the plants and the ground that surrounds them. That’s how they convey themselves across the surfaces.
Some plants are really magnetic to them and it won’t take long for you to figure that out. When you see them starting to feed you need to take decisive action immediately.
One means of controlling snails and slugs…
• Dust the plants and the ground around them with Sevin. Leave it in place for 24-48 hours, then wash it away.
• Use one of the insecticide baits sprinkled on the ground around your plants.
• Bury a shallow pan such as an aluminum pie tin and fill it with beer. (Some people say “stale” beer, but I’ve never figured out why someone would have stale beer sitting around the house. Plus, it soon becomes stale as it sits in the ground in a pie tin.) The mollusks are attracted to the smell of fermentation. They fall into the pan and drown. No more snails or slugs.
• Same “bury a pan” trick, but instead of the beer, put dry dogfood in the pan and fill it with water. The snails and slugs are attracted to that smell as well. They fall in, and again, it’s curtains for them. I found this out the easy way. I left a dog dish out in a rainstorm. It still had half a meal for the dog left in it, and it soaked up the rain.
This also works, by the way, on pillbugs, more commonly known as sowbugs or rolly-pollies.