snails & slugs: natural pest management

Coffee Camp
Tue, 13 Mar 2007 23:48:14 PDT
I looked in my copy of Australian Organic Gardening Resource Guide ( to see what they say about natural pest management for snails & slugs: "there is worldwide research to show that copper, an essential soil micronutrient, is an excellent repellent for slugs & snails.... Trials in the USA have shown copper banding out performed all other methods for protection from slugs & snails.  Copper is a repellent as it causes a reaction similar to an electric shock when the pest makes contact with it."  They sell by mail order Slug Stoppa Tape, 3m long x 2.7cm wide with an adhesive back. Or a spray called Slug It which creates a copper barrier lasting months without washing off in 750ml spray packs.

I wonder, however, since copper is a repellent and not a gastropodicide, where do all the slugs & snails go? Next door? Or just create more of the same problems in another part of the garden...

I'd also enhance biological control by encouraging natural enemies eg lizards, birds, frogs, toads if possible.  I have many of these predators including snakes and only have a few native snails which do not cause any problems.  Anything I bring onto the property which could harbour a pest, I inspect & treat & sometimes quarantine.

There is an organically certified, environmentally friendly, effective snail & bait killer called Multiguard Slug & Snail Pellets by Multicrop. The active ingredient is iron EDTA complex which is so benign that it is used in foodstuffs.  It breaks down to a soil nutrient that won't harm earthworms & does not contain toxic methiocarb or metaldehyde.

Beer slug & snail traps are available in many hardware stores & nurseries.  It's advantages are it's safe, effective & reusable - something we should all do more about.  It's also useful for earwigs if baited with soy sauce & a thin layer of vegetable oil.

Geoff in sub-tropical NSW, AU.

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