How to get rid of snails and slugs naturally

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These slimy creatures are every gardener's scourge. Stop destructive snails and slugs from snacking on your garden without using deadly baits.

Remove slugs and snails by hand. During the day, check your agapanthus, lilies and ice plants, all favourite hangouts for snails. By night, use a torch and follow their shiny trails to find them.

Squish or drown them in a jar of soapy water.

Spread natural or agricultural-grade diatomaceous earth over the soil in flower beds or around individual plants. The tiny, sharp-edged granules cut the soft-bodied slugs and cause them to dehydrate. Reapply after each rainfall.

Install barriers of 5cm (2-inch) or wider copper stripping around plants and flower beds. Do this only after you have removed all slugs and snails from inside the area, because the slimy pests won't cross copper and will be trapped inside to munch away.

Position ceramic flowerpots upside-down to trap snails and slugs that will accumulate there to rest in the shade. Overturn them and remove the snails daily until the infestation is exhausted.

Set yeast traps in troublesome beds. Sink a shallow jar or store-bought trap so the top is flush with the ground. Fill the traps with beer - regular or nonalcoholic - to 1cm (1/2 inch) from the top and wait for the snails and slugs to fall in and drown. Check the traps every few days.

For those of you who can't imagine wasting beer on snails, try this home brew: Add 1/2 tsp. baking yeast and 1 tbsp. sugar to the water in each trap.

Minimise the moist and cool spots in your garden, such as woodpiles and empty flowerpots, which slugs and snails need to survive sunny days.

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