On Crops: Beans, lettuce, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, tomatoes, and many other garden plants. Unlike most insects, slugs and snails are able to digest tissues from a wide range of plants.
Several species inhabit gardens worldwide, and are especially troublesome in cool, moist climates.
Snails move about on moist leaves, mulch and soil, and densely planted gardens are a favorite habitat. Snails can be as small as a pea or as big as your thumb, and all leave a trail of slime behind as they move. Snails lay their eggs in soil and moist compost, and their numbers can increase rapidly under ideal conditions.
Snails (and slugs) chew holes with smooth edges in leaves and fruits, and small seedlings can be consumed entirely. Slug and snail feeding is most intense at night or during periods of rainy weather.
Wear a rubber glove to hand pick snails, and drown them in a pail of soapy water. In areas where snails are persistent problems, reduce available habitat by delaying mulching for as long as rainy weather prevails in early summer. Natural predators including frogs, toads, snakes, turtles, ground beetles, firefly larvae, songbirds, chickens and ducks eat snails and their eggs. Snails get zapped with a mild electric shock when they cross a copper barrier, causing them to turn back. In planters or raised beds, perimeter bands of copper tape can help deter slimy visitors.
Where snails are out of control despite the use of preventive measures, iron phosphate slug baits are considered acceptable under organic standards.
First thing in the morning, you can usually see a glistening trail of slime on stems or leaves that have been visited by slugs or snails.