The Secret World of Slugs and Snails: Life in the Very Slow Lane

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Fildes's line drawings recall woodcuts and add a touch of whimsy, aiding the impression that soft-bodied creatures should be regarded as more than agricultural nuisances or 'cogs in nature's Grande Machine. A highly approachable read for the neophyte science aficionado and the gardening enthusiast and an entertaining take on the timeless adage, 'the meek shall inherit the earth.

You'll devour chapters that lay out the wonders of the prehistoric mollusks, from stories of how they got to these shores in the first place blame a French explorer to how they've managed to survive a rather trying string of ice ages, earthquakes, volcanoes and lesser climatologic troubles David George Gordon, a naturalist and author of 19 books, including the best-selling 'Eat-a-Bug Cookbook, ' knows how to spin a yarn.

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Best of all, his fascination with the underappreciated slowpokes is downright contagious. Don't be surprised if you hoist a Slug Lookout Booth in your own backyard. The little gooey guys are out in force, making the most of spring's moisture and mild temperatures?

Tender annual seedlings and perennial favorites like hostas are at risk, said Lisa Endicott, horticulture manager at Turtle Bay Exploration Park in Redding.

The slowest invasion: Non-native snails take over Northwest

George Winter, owner of Wyntour Gardens in Redding, has been hearing complaints about slugs and snails. But unless you control them now, you will have problems all year long," he said. Snails and slugs can be a real pain, but that's no reason not to appreciate their finer points. In our society we value speed, even at the loss of quality of life," he said in a phone interview.

IT'S HUGE! Giant Black Slug!

While they lack the brainpower and opposable thumbs that put humans ahead of other animals, slugs and snails have found a way of life that works for them. He hopes the revulsion people feel toward slugs and snails in their yards doesn't carry over to slugs and snails living in forests and other wild places. They are food for other animals, everything from beetles to opossums to raccoons. They also are plant pollinators that carry spores and seeds and pollen in their slime," Gordon said. The slugs and snails in gardens are mostly introduced species, not native slimers. The brown garden snail, the most common snail in California gardens, was brought from France in the s for use as escargot.

Secret World of Snails and Slugs | VERDURE

Not that he's expecting people to make lasting friendships with a bunch of garden slimeballs. Gordon is well aware of how damaging slugs and snails can be. And that was probably the work of two snails," he said. The best control comes with a combination of strategies, according to University of California Pest Notes on slugs and snails. The most important thing to do is to avoid inadvertently gardening in a way that encourages snails, he said.

If you water at night, don't. To easily ooze from one place to the next, snails need moisture. Drip irrigation can thwart them because it results in less humidity and moist surfaces than overhead sprinklers. Endicott has a garden filled with plants that snails like, but snails and slugs haven't been a problem because she only waters once a week.

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Areas that harbor snails are usually shady, as well as moist. If you can't eliminate such places, don't plant vegetable seedlings or other tender plants too close to them, Waite said. Gordon recommended raking soil in garden beds in the fall to bring snail eggs to the surface.

The Secret Life of Slugs and Snails | Golden Gate Park

It exposes them to air and to birds that come in to eat them. Water snail-infested areas in the late afternoon to draw out snails, and then go out with a flashlight at night to find them. Dry ashes and other abrasive materials placed around garden beds keep out snails and slugs, but lose effectiveness when they become wet, says UC Pest Notes.

Gordon said copper is the best barrier. Copper reacts with the sensory cells on the slug or snail. Make sure a planter box is free of snails before applying a copper band around it. The copper strip needs to be a few inches wide, not a thin piece of wire that snails and slugs "can arch their bellies and go over? Shallow containers baited with beer or water with sugar and yeast draw slugs and snails. But the UC publication says "these traps aren't very effective for the labor involved.

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Boards, inverted melon rinds and flower pots can be used as traps. Slugs and snails take refuge under them after a night of munching.

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Waite likes to use an upside-down clay pot propped up with a small rock. Toads, birds and beetles eat slugs and snails.