The more we pull weeds, the more we see them. Whole extended families, along with empty shells from snails passed.
Her method of choice for reducing the snail population is snail pellets and powder. The only problem is the rain. The directions on the box say to re-apply after a rainfall. We're on day-two of rain, with at about ten more expected, and mom is afraid the snails won't wait until we can re-apply the powder to come out and dine on her plants.
So I took to the internet looking for other ways to kill snails. Apparently there are many.
The most recommended was old beer in a pie tin, buried to the rim in the ground. The snails are drawn to the beer, crawl in and drown. Someone did a study on their attraction to different brands of beer. Seems that they don't like the cheap stuff. No matter, because mom and dad are like me, no beer of any kind in the house. Wine? Yes. Beer? No.
Next choice? A combination of yeast and honey, mixed with water. Fill a tin, bury it to the rim. Snails really like this "tea," crawl in to drink some, and drown. I figured we could make the tea rather concentrated so it would still be effective if diluted by the rain. Macabre, but effective.
Less macabre? Hand-pick and relocate them over the fence -- not to worry, there is a creek over the fence and we're not just moving the snails out to visit the neighbors. Apparently snails have a small world and rarely travel more than 20 feet in their lifetime, so they are unlikely to come back. We discussed this method, which requires us to touch the slimy little buggers, and decided against it.
There are plenty of ways to trap the pests under pie plates and boards, but you still have to pick and discard them, which rules that out. One thing I like about my mom -- I don't have to defend my disinclination to touch the creatures to her.
Mom and dad cook and bake; yeast and honey are plentiful in their kitchen. So last night, about ten-o'clock, mom and I were out in the garden with a flashlight and a container of yeast-honey "tea," digging a hole to burry it up to the rim. We placed the trap next to the newly planted flowering primroses, which are currently the most prized and coveted plants in the garden. And the ones she most wanted to protect.
The next morning was like Christmas, as I rushed outside (even before coffee) to see if we had any success.
Eureka! About a half-dozen slugs (did I even know she had slugs too?) were floating in the tea. Four or five more were headed, slowly, towards their fate. I went hunting for a stick to help them along. Yew!
I'm going home day-after-tomorrow so I won't have to empty the slug stew, besides snails and slugs are (according to several websites) attracted to other dead snails and slugs.
But I will help set out a few more containers before I go, just to make up for my absence during the more gruesome task of disposing of the dead bodies.