Monty Don reveals how to deter slugs and snails from gardens
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Weather forecasts have dramatically shifted over the last few days, drifting from sunshine and sweltering highs to heavy rain. The rain will have forced people inside but attracted new life in their place. Snails, in particular, prefer venturing outdoors only when the weather splashes some moisture on the ground.
Why do snails come out when it rains?
Most people will notice an influx of creepy crawlies during the summer, with flies, wasps, spiders and more favouring dry weather.
But they won’t see many snails, despite the season marking their most active period.
They hibernate during the autumn and winter from October to April and emerge when it rains.
Snails favour rain because their bodies consist primarily of moisture.
As most people know, the insects roam around with a trail of “slime”, which they need to survive.
Snails breathe through their skin, and water triggers osmosis which allows them to take in oxygen.
They will die if sun exposure dries their skin out.
When the weather dries out, snails seek shelter by creating viscous “slime tombs”.
These tend to harden and protect the snail until rain dissolves their temporary cocoon.
The snail, having likely not eaten for some time, then ventures out to find food.
If rain falls after a long period of dry weather, snails will likely end up more hungry, and people end up seeing many more.
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Non-lethal methods include:
- Relocating them by hand
- Add bark, wood chips and gravel to garden beds
- Attract garden birds
- Sprinkle coffee grounds
- Use snail repellent
- Place copper tape around flowerbeds
- Plant a patch of marigolds away from cops
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