How to get rid of snails from your garden

Reasons to Get Rid of Snails and Slugs

  • They're not pretty. To some, snails and slugs are an eyesore. Their mucus-covered bodies and slime trails are not visually pleasing. And this is one of the reasons I keep them out of my home and garden, especially where they collect around the water tank, tap, aquarium, bathroom, and fish pond.
  • They damage plants and crops. Apart from being a turn-off, these mollusks are pests. They eat plants, so they can really reduce crop yield and do some damage to ornamentals. They feed mainly on leaves, which means they can be a real threat in your leafy vegetable garden.
  • They can wreak havoc on water features. Snails and slugs near ponds or other water features in your garden can be detrimental in a number of ways. First, if the mollusks are parasitic, they can kill the fish. Second, if they are left to reproduce without control, they compete for resources. Third, they can clog the tank, pool, or pond filters and pipework.
  • They host parasites. Some of the mollusks are hosts of deadly parasites and microorganisms. For example, the faucet and mud gastropods carry liver flukes. Other gastropods carry parasitic worms that cause bilharzia.

That said, all gastropods can be controlled in similar ways, which can be categorized into organic, natural, and chemical methods. This article is about how to completely get rid of snails and slugs in houses, gardens, potted plants, water tanks, bathrooms, ponds, and fountains.

Snail On A Wet Patio Feature


1. Use Bait to Get Rid of Snails and Slugs

You have two options: liquid or powdered baits.

Which baits work best on slugs and snails?

Liquid bait: The most effective baits are beer and iron phosphate. Iron phosphate (in liquid form) entices the mollusks and even kills them. Other great options include grape juice or a mixture of yeast and honey or sugar. To use this method, fill a bowl or wide-mouthed jar halfway with bait and place it where the gastropods collect. You can bury the jar a bit to make it easier for them to crawl in. When the pests come out from their hiding places, they will be attracted by the bait, move in, and drown. You can then dispose of the dead pests.

Dry bait: You can also use methiocarb and metaldehyde to control the pests, however, these baits can kill domestic animals and other wildlife and can also harm people, so be careful when using them. To use these baits, you only need to sprinkle them in the right places to control the organisms.

Which is the best brand of slug or snail bait?

There are many iron phosphate baits, but only one or two can deal with slugs and snails. For me, the most effective bait has been the Corry's Slug and Snail Killer, which is safe to use around pets and wildlife. It's organic which means that it can be used safely around water tanks, flowers, vegetables, and fruit trees. In addition, it breaks down immediately into the soil when left unconsumed.

If you are finding it hard to control these pests, just grab this bait and you will be able to deal with the menace in one day!

How to Prevent Snails from Moving In

Eliminate Snail Hideouts

Eliminate Snail Hideouts

Dealing with an abundance of snails on your land starts with eliminating as many snail hideouts as possible. From tall weeds around tree trunks to loose organic debris around your garden or produce, snails will look for any dark, shaded place they can find to call home. Naturally, you may have areas across your land that create natural snail hiding places and cannot be changed, so do your best to check on these specific spots frequently.

Opt for Drip Irrigation Methods

When setting up irrigation methods, opt for drip irrigation rather than sprinkler irrigation to reduce humidity and minimize multiple moist surfaces in the area. Drip irrigation techniques allow your plants to be watered closer to their roots, keeping the surface level drier. Additionally, make sure to irrigate your crops or plants in the morning time, allowing the soil to dry out throughout the day rather than staying soaked overnight.

Landscape with Snail-Resistant Plants

If you notice snails thriving in certain spots of your yard, try to avoid growing plants or produce that they are attracted to. Remember, snails and slugs primarily feed on seedlings and succulent foliage.

Types of plants that snails are NOT attracted to include:

  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Ferns
  • Cyclamen
  • Hydrangea
  • California Poppy
  • Nasturtium
  • Lantana

Snails tend to stray far away from plants that are highly scented, ornamental woody plants, and ornamental grasses.

5.  Attract birds to your garden

There are lots of species of birds that eat snails and slugs. This means that you can reduce your snail and slug population by taking steps to attract more birds to your yard. This method is lethal for the snails, but it is along the lines of encouraging nature to take its course and does not require introducing chemicals into your garden. It is also a quicker death than they would experience with snail poison or drowning methods.

7 Ways to Get Rid of Snails in Your Garden

Getting rid of snails in flower beds can be tough.

Getting rid of snails in flower beds can be tough. After all, the garden combines all the things snails love most: moisture, shelter, and food sources.

Fortunately, it is possible to get rid of slimy pest snails naturally and organically.

Here are a few tactics we recommend:

1. Use Bait

If you have a can of beer in your refrigerator, you’ve already got an effective form of snail bait. A time-tested home remedy, beer contains yeast, which attracts snails.

For best results, fill a shallow bowl or wide-mouthed jar about halfway with beer. Place it anywhere you’ve noticed snail activity, burying the bowl slightly in the dirt to make it easier for snails to access.

When the snails come out to feed, they’ll smell the beer, crawl in, and drown. You can then toss the dead snails out. Other substances like grape juice and store-bought iron phosphate will work equally well as bait.

Pros: Effective, affordable, non-toxic, safe for households with kids and pets

Cons: You’ll have to set bait again and again to reduce your snail population

Note: Dry baits like methiocarb and metaldehyde are also available, but are not safe for kids or pets, and can kill domestic animals and wildlife. 

2. Use Traps

“How do I stop snails eating my plants?”

If you’re asking this, traps could be a great option. If you have snails in your lawn or garden and would prefer not to use bait, traps are a safe alternative. You can use an inexpensive homemade trap (like inverted grapefruit halves or melon or orange rinds scattered throughout your garden) or store-bought snail traps.

Regardless of which method you choose, traps work by emitting a scent that attracts snails, and then trapping and killing them when they arrive.

Pros: Inexpensive, easy to set, effective, a good fit for households who want to avoid poison or store-bought bait

Cons: Requires you to dispose of the trap and dead snails, traps need to be reset regularly, and may take weeks or months to fully kill a snail population. 

3. Use Barriers and Repellents

Barriers and repellents can be an effective method for getting rid of snails without killing them. Here are a few options for each:

  • Copper. Copper is an ideal barrier material for snails since the metal creates electric shocks that make it difficult for snails to navigate. Simply place a strip of copper around your garden or any other place you’d like to keep snails away from. It can also be effective to sprinkle copper fragments around these areas.
  • Diatomaceous earthDiatomaceous earth (DE) is a non-toxic material that is an excellent barrier or repellent for pests. The substance, which is made from fossilized diatoms, has rough edges that are difficult for snails to crawl over. While it will not kill them, it will slow them down.
  • Coarse substances. Coarse substances like ground-up eggshells, sandpaper, and lava rock will provide an effective barrier for snails. You can also get rid of snails with coffee grounds. Research has found that a 1-2% caffeine solution will kill snails, while coffee grounds will simply form a barrier snails do not like to cross.

Pros: Barriers and repellents are effective, affordable, and easy to deploy

Cons: You need to re-apply barriers, especially homemade barriers like DE, eggshells, and coffee grounds, regularly for them to be effective

4. Introduce Predators

Chicken, geese, and ducks are natural predators of snails and slugs, as are turkeys, frogs, beetles, nematodes, and birds. Introducing any of these animals into your yard is an effective way to control snail populations without using poisons and traps.

Pros: Effective, eco-friendly, safe for a household with kids and pets

Cons: Requires the introduction of another animal, may be difficult to manage in some households

5. Plant Snail-Resistant Plants

Some plants are less attractive to snails than others. The following varieties resist snails, slugs, and other gastropods:

  • Hostas
  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Poppy
  • Geranium
  • Fuchsia
  • Nasturtium
  • Lantana
  • And other aromatics

These plants are beautiful and can be an effective barrier to keep snails out of your garden.

Pros: Affordable, non-toxic, eco-friendly, safe for households with kids and pets

Cons: Does not kill snails, is most effective when used in conjunction with other methods

6. Kill Snails With Salt, Chemicals, or Pesticides

If you want to kill snails, you can do so with salt. Salt, for example, absorbs water from mollusks, which dehydrates and kills them. Sprinkle the salt directly onto the snails or use a thick layer of it to create a barrier. Be aware, though, that salt can harm plants and other animals.

Garlic, iron phosphate, bleach, and store-bought snail control solutions will also kill snails.

Pros: Effective, affordable

Cons: Most effective when used in conjunction with other solutions

7. Adjust Your Watering Schedule

One excellent way to get rid of snails is to simply change the way you water your garden. Instead of watering it in the evening, start watering your plants in the morning. As long as your plants are still getting adequate water, the change in schedule should not affect their health. Watering in the evening will make your garden drier at night, which will make it less attractive for snails who come out to feed in the dark.

Pros: Effective, easy to do, affordable

Cons: Most effective when used in conjunction with other methods

8. Sprinkle coffee grounds

You may already spread coffee grounds in your garden to add nutrients to the soil. Another benefit of sprinkling coffee grounds around your plants is that they help keep slugs and snails out of your garden.

What do slugs do and why getting rid of slugs, anyway?

Garden snails and slugs, just like other pests, come to the garden primarily in search for food. Finding shelter on hot sunny days is their additional motivation.

But do you really have to wonder how to get rid of snails as soon as you spot them? As for snails without shell, that is – slugs, it is recommended to act immediately. They are quite unique pests and their presence in the garden doesn’t bode well at all. Nonetheless, if you notice garden snails, you can hold for a while and observe their behaviour. Sometimes snails don’t prey on healthy plants and eat just scraps or naturally dying elements.

Interestingly enough, some snails can positively affect garden crops. They might eat weeds and their seeds. In this case, finding a way to kill snails is unnecessary.

What do snails eat?

Snails eat just about everything: from seedlings and the tender new growth of ornamental plants to rotting compost. In the vegetable plot they’ll make a raid on large, leafy greens, tender herbs and ripening soft fruits such as strawberries. Some will even eat other animals such as worms.

Coffee and cinnamon – garden slugs stand no chance

Coffee is one of the most effective garden slug remedy, which works multidimensionally. First of all, the pests hate its smell. Usually, all you have to do is spread some coffee grounds around the plants to deter the slugs from visiting your garden. But if it doesn’t work – you can also use the taste, also disliked by garden slugs and snails. The use of coffee, in this case, is a little different. You have to brew it and after it has cooled off, spray the plants delicately. Don’t give up spreading coffee grounds – by sticking to the slug’s body, they are an additional deterrent.

Cinnamon works exactly in the same way, as it repels the slugs with the smell and by sticking to their bodies. In this case, you just have to pour it on the ground – you don’t have to prepare any brews.

Place Snail Barriers

Much to your dismay, snails in your garden likely have unrestricted access to their desired food source: the roots and leaves of your plants. Most gardeners want to get rid of snails while leaving the soil composition and microbiome of their garden relatively undisturbed. These gardeners need to look no further than the contents of their own pantry and garage. 

Natural items you may already have around the house can be used to create grating barriers that snails will be unable to pass over. Below a snail’s hard outer shell is the vulnerable, soft body they use to transport themselves around. Using irritating materials such as abrasive gravel, sharp eggshell fragments, diatomaceous earth, or rough wood chips will deter them from getting any closer to what they thought would be their next meal.


Once you have confirmed that you are dealing with Snails, you should proceed with an inspection to pinpoint where Snails are active.

Where To Inspect

Where To Inspect

Snails do most of their damage at night because they are nocturnal. They are drawn to moisture so they can usually be found in damp, cool areas at night. In the daytime, snails go into hiding, usually under rocks, stones, or any shady area. They are big plant-eaters and chew large, ragged holes in leaves. Snails also eat seedlings, and garden vegetation such as strawberries, lettuce, and cabbage.

Search in the yard, look in leaf litter, woodpiles, dead vegetation, bricks, stones, and yard equipment. You should also check outdoor faucets and plumbing.

What To Look For

You’re looking for Snails themselves or signs of their activity such as mucus trails and bite marks on plants. In the yard, look for areas where there are possible leaks or standing water. Make sure to address these areas before moving forward with treatment. Look under leaves of plants in flowerbeds and gardens and also look for feeding damages in these plants.

A good test you can do to confirm that you, in fact, have snails is to use a wooden plank. At night, place the plank near the damaged plants, making sure to put four rocks at each end of the plank, to sustain the wood plank a couple of inches off the ground.

In the morning you should see snails underneath this plank and can get rid of them by throwing them in a bucket of water and rubbing alcohol. Once you have confirmed Snail activity in these areas, this is where you will apply treatment.

How do Pest Control Specialists Get Rid of Snails?

Getting rid of snails typically requires a multi-f

Getting rid of snails typically requires a multi-faceted approach. When you work with Smith’s Pest Management, here’s the method our team will use to get rid of snails:

1. Inspection

To completely resolve your snail infestation, we start with a comprehensive inspection. We’ll look for access points where the snails are entering your home, food sources they may be feasting on, and any other problem areas that need attention.

This crucial step allows us to identify the species and type of snail, while also getting a sense of how extensive the snail infestation is.

2. Treatment

Based on the information we gather during our inspection, we’ll develop a targeted treatment plan for your home. We’ll utilize a variety of methods and control measures to get rid of snails, including:

  • Baiting
  • Trapping
  • Monitoring
  • Exclusion and barrier tactics

3. Follow-Up

To make sure we’ve completely resolved your snail infestation, we provide regular follow-up appointments. We’ll check our treatment methods to make sure they’re still working, and make any adjustments needed.

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