If you have areas that are dark and shady in your yard, chances are it’ll make a perfect home for slugs and snails. But what are the differences between slugs and snails and how can you prevent snails from eating all your greens? Find out more in this week’s tip.

Slugs and snails are essential the same type of creature in the mollusk family with the shell of the snail helping them with moisture conservation. Since mollusks dry out quickly, being able to fully retract into the shell is a good way to stay moist. However, this comes at the expense of having to stay above ground and not being able to fit into small spaces like slugs can.

Baits, lures, and traps are all effective at reducing the slug population in your garden. This can include shallow saucers of beer, commercial traps with iron phosphorus (ex. Sluggo), and strips of copper wrapped around the base of your trees, raised beds or containers.

Set traps and lures in the evening as most snails are active at night when temperatures are cooler. Check in the morning and discard any unwanted slugs.

For the intrepid gardener and eater, you can also eat unwanted snails, giving extra satisfaction in removing a garden pest, ensuring their demise, and supplementing your meal at the same time. There has been a long history of eating snails since the ancient world and many tips and recipes online. Just be sure to cook the snails thoroughly as raw snails can carry parasites. Some chefs also “purify” then by feeding them only water and flour for a week.

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