In the 1968 classic Night of the Living Dead, slow-moving zombies gradually surround a
desolate house, trapping the inhabitants inside. The monsters are slow and clumsy, so handling
one would be easy, but more just keep coming. It’s the sheer number that makes them a threat.
What was initially a slight disturbance eventually becomes an overwhelming, insurmountable
And for that reason, slugs and snails are a lot like zombies: they’re both slllloooooowwww, icky,
and they both can become a big problem if they’re not treated. (The good news is that slugs will
not eat your brains if given the chance).
The basics of snails
Snails inhabit just about every environment on Earth, from the deserts to the bottom of the sea.
That means these gastropods are highly adaptable, and have had no trouble infiltrating the
Southern California region.
Snails and slugs are decomposers, and perform a valuable duty by breaking down dead foliage.
They do accomplish this with thousands of microscopic teeth located on their radula, a ribbon
like tongue they use to shred their food.
Despite their valuable role in the ecosystem, snails are a huge nuisance for farmers and
agricultural workers. Don’t let their slow speed fool you: a horde of snails blow through a crop in
no time. Plus, no crop is safe from their glacial reign of terror. Fruit, veggies, seedlings, trees,
leaves— all are susceptible to a snail attack.
In California, the brown garden snail (Cornu asperum) is the most common variety of snail.
These guys are grayish-yellow, have a brown shell, and leave their signature slime trail behind
them (well, that’s true for most land snails). Garden snails were intentionally introduced in the
Southern California around 1850 and have thrived in the moist environment. They are found in
in both urban and rural environments, making them a scourge to homeowners and farmers
Another common snail found in Southern California is the decollate snail (Rumina decollata),
which differs from the brown garden snail with a pointed, spiral shell that looks like it belongs on
the top of a unicorn’s head.
Funny story: the decollate snail was intentionally introduced to combat the brown garden snail—
which, at the time, had become a major threat to citrus crops. However, this plan backfired and
the decollate snails began eating citrus and endangered wildlife, too. Just another example of
man and his hubris!
How Lloyd deals with snails
You’d think it’d be easy to eradicate a slow moving target, but just like fighting zombies, treating
snails requires foresight and expertise.
It’s been proven that baits made from metaldehyde are extremely effective in eliminating slugs,
but it is also very poisonous to pets. For this reason, we do not use granules made from
metaldehyde. We believe that pets are part of the family, and since a major part of our job is to
protect your family, we refuse to use any product that will put your family in danger.
All the snail bait we use is made from iron phosphate, which is just as effective in exterminating
snails without causing danger to your pets. Iron baits have the potential downside of staining
concrete, so our technicians will spot-check the situation and determine the best method of
treating your snails.
Give us a call:
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Lloyd Pest Control Blog
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