How to Get Rid of Snails In Your House and Garden [2022]


Before you can proceed with using treatment products, you need to confirm whether you are truly encountering Snails via identification. Misidentification can lead to using the wrong treatment methods, costing you time and money.

  Snails and Slugs aren’t actually insects.

  • Snails and Slugs aren’t actually insects. In fact, they are mollusks, much like clams and oysters. There are thousands of species of snails that exist and different species are able to thrive in different conditions, like the sea snail and freshwater snail. The one we are going to focus on is the common garden snail.
  • Snails are easy to identify. They are usually just under an inch to 1.5 inches long, have a soft body, tentacles with eyes and are usually colored brown or green. Other distinguishing traits of a snail are that they have are a hard spiral shell which they use as a shelter to crawl into. Those that don’t have a shell are called Slugs.
  • Snails are most known by their calling card: sticky and slimy mucus trails they leave behind whenever they move. This mucus is significant to them as it enables snails to crawl over rough surfaces, and can keep their soft bodies from drying out

Use the image and description above to properly identify snails on your property. If you are not totally sure, contact us and we will assist you with proper identification.


How Snails Survive On Your Land

Brown garden snails thrive in moist environments that are safely hidden from the heat of the sun. Most active during foggy, cloudy, or rainy days when it’s damp, these snail scoundrels will feed on a wide variety of living plants and decaying plant matter – such as young tree bark, ripe or ripening fruit crops, or young tree or plant leaves.

Other common plants snails consume include:

  • Basil
  • Beans
  • Cabbage
  • Dahlia
  • Delphinium
  • Hosta
  • Lettuce
  • Marigolds
  • Various vegetable plants

When feeding on plants, snails opt for seedlings, succulents, turfgrass, or herbs. As they munch on your foliage, they scrape their rasp-like tongues along the smooth edges of plant leaves and succulent arms, causing irregular-shaped holes and chips across the outermost surface area. Thankfully, most snails won’t be able to eat enough of your plants to kill them before you notice, so the damage they cause on your ornamentals is mostly an aesthetic issue.

Snails also go after many different types of ripe or ripening fruits – such as strawberries, tomatoes, and citrus fruits (feeding on both the fruit and bark of citrus trees). When snacking on fruits, they chew out circular-shaped areas on the rind – making the fruit appear unappetizing and blemished. Snails can be extremely damaging when nesting and reproducing in citrus fruit orchards, as citrus farmers utilize irrigation methods that create the perfect, moist environment for snails to prosper.

What do snails eat?

Snails eat organic matter, including a wide variety of living plants and decaying wood, crops, and plant leaves. Snails will also eat crops and  flowers, and are particularly fond of the following:

  • Basil
  • Beans
  • Cabbage
  • Dahlia
  • Delphinium
  • Hosta
  • Lettuce
  • Marigolds
  • Various vegetables

The brown garden snail (the most common snail to invade homes and gardens in California) will also eat succulents, turfgrass, and herbs.

2. Sprinkle Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth

This natural powder is somewhat of a hidden gem when it comes to natural pest control. Buy some food-grade diatomaceous earth and sprinkle it on areas where the snails and slugs frequent. Diatomaceous earth has microscopic edges that can pierce the bodies of slugs and snails.

Getting rid of slugs in the garden – use baking soda!

You probably use baking soda in your kitchen regularly – but it has many more uses. You can clean a washing machine, descale a kettle or brighten curtains with it. It can also help you in the garden as a slug repellent.

Are you wondering whether using baking soda to get rid of snails is difficult? Some claim it’s the most effective method of getting rid of slugs. All you have to do is pour it in whatever spots you want to protect against the pests. Soda creates a barrier that repels slugs and snails – they are not able to cross it, so they give up and leave your garden.

10. Opt for Plants That Slugs Shun

When all else fails, plant a garden that is decidedly not slug friendly; or at least do so in areas where slugs are persistent. Slugs don’t like highly scented things, so go with lavender, rosemary, begonias, and sage. Other slug repellers include ferns, cyclamen, hydrangea, California poppy, nasturtium, and lantana.

7. Kill and Dispose of the Mollusks Manually

If you have a strong stomach for this sort of thing, you can control slugs and snails by just handpicking, killing, and disposing of them. Wear gloves or use tweezers or chopsticks to make the work simpler and easier. I recommend doing the handpicking early in the morning or late in the evening when the pests are out.

5. Use Broken Eggshells

Scatter broken eggshells in a perimeter around slug favorites. The sharp edges are not comfortable on those soft slimy bodies. The eggshells will decompose and benefit the soil, as well.

11: Removing by Hand

Removing snails and slugs by hand doesn’t require special products or tricks. However, it is incredibly time consuming and may not be a permanent solution. You also have to be okay with touching slugs and snails! However, if you have the time and patience to use this method, you need to regularly check your garden for snails and slugs, pick them off, and move them at least 20 feet away from your garden.

4. Employ Biological Methods (Predators)

One of the best, most natural biological methods is the use of predators.

For example, you can introduce chickens, geese, and ducks in your garden to feed on them. Other creatures that help are tortoises, turtles, frogs, toads, snakes, newts, salamanders, hedgehogs, beetles, nematodes, and birds.

You can also use predatory snails. These snails are attractive and do not carry parasites. You can introduce them in your garden; though in this case, you should not use other control methods, such as baits, traps, and pesticides.

If you want to get rid of gastropods in a fish pond, you can introduce a scavenging fish. Some recommended fish include loaches, catfish, and putterfish. These predators also feed on the pests, eliminating the menace completely.

Predator Slug

By La.Catholique on Flickr [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia

7: Recycled Wool Waste

Wool waste is a by-product of the wool manufacturing process. This is then turned into pellets that you can spread around your plants as a barrier. These pellets swell up and reveal nasty fibres that are a natural irritant to slugs and snails. These pellets degrade over time and act as plant food. It is effective when protecting newly planted seedlings and perennials.

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.

Is a chemical slug killer a necessity?

Although many gardeners use a chemical slug killer as soon as they spot slugs in their garden, it’s not always necessary, or recommended. Keep in mind that any slug killer with even a scarcity of a chemical component has an iimpact on nature and might affect growth of some plants. For this reason, experts claim that such method for getting rid of slugs should be used as a last resort.

Home remedies make a great alternative and help to get rid of slugs effectively. Products you use every day in the kitchen might keep slugs out of your garden. Some of the natural methods are surprisingly efficient, and at the same time – safe for your plants.

How to Get Rid of Snails When They Start to Scavenge

Hand-Pick Them Out

Hand-Pick Them Out

While this method might seem primitive, hand-picking snails from your garden or crops on a daily basis can be an effective way to eliminate their numbers. When scouring your area for snails, pay close attention to any hiding spots that may allow for snail populations to grow and do your best to get rid of them.

If you’re noticing snail damage but having a tough time sourcing them, you can water your entire area by hose or sprinkler during the late afternoon – starting your snail search after the sun sets with the help of a flashlight. Each time you hand-pick snails from your yard, you can put them in an empty bucket and relocate them to areas at least 65 feet (20 meters) away. It’s thought that snails have a natural homing instinct, but if they are taken far enough away from your garden or farm, they likely won’t be able to find their way back.

Set Humane Snail Traps and Barriers

In addition to temporarily utilizing sprinkler or hose irrigation to draw out snails, you can set up humane traps that enhance your chances of snatching snails at the source. To aid in capture, you can build and place wooden traps with runners throughout your landscape to allow them to crawl underneath – checking the underside at least once a week to see if snails are attached, hand-picking them off, and then relocating them.

Additionally, snails’ mucus secretions have a chemical reaction to copper, causing misfiring in their nervous systems and delivering an electric shock if they come in contact. Copper foil, banding, or screens on or around your garden can help keep snails far away from your valuable landscaping or food.


If you’ve ever poured table salt on a rogue slug in your driveway, then you know that this simplified solution can work! Mollusks are made up of a great deal of water, and their membranes are more permeable than most animals. Therefore, salt poured on top of these critters causes osmosis to occur – a biological phenomenon in which water passes from one region of high water concentration through a semipermeable membrane to a region of lower water concentration. This means that when salt is applied to snails, large amounts of fluid from inside their membranes rush to the surface to restore equilibrium and dilute the concentration of salt.

Although salt can be a great way to take care of a few snails here and there, using large amounts of organic salt in your garden can increase the salinity of the soil and damage your plants or crops. If the level of salts in the soil water is too high, water may flow from the plant roots back into the soil – resulting in dehydration of the plant, yield decline, or even death of the plant. If using salt, make sure to use inorganic salt (without a carbon-hydrogen bond) to ward off snails without harming your landscape.

Introduce Decollate Snails

Decollate snails (Rumina decollata) are natural predators to brown garden snails. By introducing these snails to your garden or crop, they can eliminate your harmful snail infestation with minimal damage to your land. Decollate snails are easy to differentiate from brown snails, as they have conical shells and grow to about 2 to 2.5 inches long.

During the daytime, decollates live in the first few inches of moist topsoil, leaf mulch, or underneath rocks. As the sun sets, they become active and will hunt slugs and snails – feasting on all types of mollusks and their eggs. If this method isn’t controlled properly, decollate snails can cause immense damage to endangered snail species or certain plants nearby, so be sure to contact your local department of agriculture for best practices.

5. Use Emptied Grapefruit Halves

Slice a grapefruit in half then scoop out and enjoy the grapefruit flesh. Next, place the emptied grapefruit halves near affected plants and leave them overnight. You should find plenty of slugs and snails in it the next morning.

Watch These Related Videos

 Expert VideoHow do you keep animals out of your g Expert VideoHow do you keep animals out of your g

Expert VideoHow do you keep animals out of your garden?

 Expert VideoWhat are some natural options for wee Expert VideoWhat are some natural options for wee

Expert VideoWhat are some natural options for weed removal?

 Expert VideoHow do you find where ants are enteri Expert VideoHow do you find where ants are enteri

Expert VideoHow do you find where ants are entering your house?

Expert VideoExpert Video

Expert Video

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

What will kill snails?

If all else fails and snails and slugs are getting out of hand in the garden, you might want to resort to slug pellets. Ferrous phosphate slug pellets work on snails too, and they are considered safe around pets, crops and wildlife. They’re suitable for organic gardening.


Leave a Comment