A quite, cheap, safe and ecological way to get rid of snails (and slugs, while you’re at it) is to leave out at night a shallow container such as a microwave dinner entree tray. Fill it at least half an inch with beer. Cheap beer is fine, and it doesn’t even need to be fresh.
The snails and slugs come during the night, get drunk, and drown. (At least they die happy!)
Tip out the tray, and reuse it next night. Move the tray around if you have a large garden. After a few nights, you won’t have a snail or slug problem.
I realize this isn’t quite what you had in mind, but one thing you can do with snails is eat them. The ones common in the USA were brought there by a Frenchman who loved them in his homeland. Let the captured snails sit in a vented container for a couple days with cornmeal — to clean their systems out. They’re quite good, mild eating. (And really expensive to buy in stores or restaurants!) Try various recipes online. You absolutely could make a splash at a party!
I’ve done that with the beer–it’s so hot in Texas that the beer dried up and no snails died happy!
Apparently in some places such as Texas this solution just qualifies as a shocking waste of beer!
The worst thing about the beer solution that I’d heard of is that the neighbors think it’s gross. But since it only takes a few containers, and a few days — they should be able to tolerate it — after all, you’re killing their slugs and snails, too!
As for Texas and other hot places. Hmm. Try this:
a) Use more beer.
b) Use a semi-enclosed container. (Maybe like a milk carton with a couple snail-size holes cut in the sides.)
c) Dump a good amount of ice in.
d) Pour in a little cheap vodka, just to make sure there’s enough alcohol after evaporation?
The thing is about this technique is that it’s so effective, in my experience, that it only needs to be done for a couple days. So a little effort is worth a lot of piece of mind!
I found this website with many different methods for getting rid of those pesky critters, many of which are eco-friendly and use household items. An amendment to the above method is that you can also use a mixture of yeast and honey in place of beer in the same fashion for a similar result. You can also create a “shady spot” in your garden for the snails by using a pot, food tin, or even leaves to act as a place to get out of the sun, and simply scoop them up and toss in the trash. You can also use pet food to lure them to these traps as well. Another effective method is using a “copper barrier,” a strip of copper metal that goes around the tree or pot, and acts like a wall in which the little guys cannot get past. Check the website for the method that best helps you.
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