Saturday, September 19, 2009

They survived !! - Garden Snails

The weather in Malaysia has been pretty wet lately. We have been experiencing intermittent rainfall daily, especially in the evening. Despite the fact that the rain brought abundance of moisture to my garden (Minimized watering - save water/environment), it also brought along some visitors/resident to my garden.

One evening I noticed some strange looking things in my garden. Upon switching on my spot lights, I realised that there was an army of snails crawling in my garden. So, this is what is eating my plants lately.

The first thing that crossed my mind was, I MUST get rid of them. Remembered that in my childhood days my late grandmother would always ask us to put salt onto any garden snails to kill them. So... got my daughter to bring me the salt and start my crusade on sprinkling salt onto those garden snails. In less than 1o minutes, I "killed" 11 snails. Since it had started drizzling again, I declared victory and happily left the garden.

In the morning, I went to the garden to claim my casualties. But to my horror....I could not find any. They were all gone. Disappeared from the surface of the earth!!! Where have they gone to? Nobody would have picked them up and discarded them as it was still early in the morning. Then it hit me that I might not have killed them instantly last night. Since I just sprinkle a little bit of salt on them and it had started raining, maybe the rain managed to wash the salt away and saved their lives!!! Feeling frustrated, I embark into a journey of hunting them down. Managed to find 3 of them. This time around I made sure that I increase my dosage and rid them once and for all (sounds so cruel). See... the one below is dead.

I know some people believe garden snails are harmless. So why are we declaring war with these scavengers who are terrorising our garden? Well... they eat our plants and vegetables!!!
Garden snails are nocturnal animals, so they will attack our garden at night (when we are not there to fend for our helpless plants). They are hermaphrodites. (meaning they have both male and female reproductive organs). Since they can produce 100 eggs each time and they mate once a month, you can imagine how fast they can multiply if not controlled. These snail have a lifespan of more than 2 years!!!

Apart from putting salt on them there are a number of organic ways to rid them. Some common ones are :
  1. Hand picking and disposing them (by stomping on, throwing in the street, dropping in a bucket of salt water).
  2. Beer traps. Place a small container (2-5 cm deep) into ground with beer. The following morning you will find that most of the snails in your garden wound have come around, has a sip, got drunk, fallen in and drowned. Death by inebriation (think I should try this method)
  3. Copper deterrent - Snails hates copper as it gives them a slight electrical shock. So place a band of copper on your beloved plants or pot to deter this pest.


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