Scientists find best way to rid a garden of snails

Gardeners wanting to rid their spring flowerbeds of pesky snails can ditch the beer traps and egg shells and instead develop a strong throwing arm. This is according to a new study in the journal Physica Scripta, which has used statistical models to show that removing snails out of the garden by a distance of over 20 metres or more is just as effective as simply killing them.

According to the researchers, from Queen Mary University of London and The University of Exeter, their results prove that snails are part of larger colonies that live in the garden, and reveal how gardeners can limit the damage the snails impose by nullifying their homing instinct. Co-author of the study Dr David Dunstan, from Queen Mary University of London, said: “We showed that the number of snails regularly or irregularly visiting a garden is many times greater than the number actually present at any one time in the garden. “As such, gardeners shouldn’t be setting out to eliminate their gardens of snails. To achieve such a feat would require the gardener to rid the whole neighbourhood of snails, which would be a slow process.

“Gardeners should be setting out to minimise the damage done by snails, which our results showed could be quickly achieved by simply removing the snails over 20 metres away. “A recent poll by the Royal Horticultural Society showed that one-in-five gardeners in the UK have thrown snails into their neighbours’ gardens. Whilst our study shows that this may be more beneficial than actually killing them, we believe the gardening community would benefit as a whole by removing the snails to a convenient wasteland rather than passing the burden onto their neighbours.” More here Scientists find best way to rid a garden of snails.

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