Friday, 17 August 2007

Unwanted Visitors in the Garden

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This is not an essay on the life of snails and how they develop. This is based on my own experiences made in my garden. For detailed biological details I am sure there is enough on Google to satisfy the inquisitive.

Now this little man/women in the photo (they are both) I photographed at the beginning of a rainy week-end in the garden. Up to then we had fantastic pre Summer weather and not a slug in sight. Who knows where they were, but I just read that when they lay their eggs the eggs can remain a couple of years in the ground until they decide to hatch. I was not very happy at seeing this slimy creature, as where there is one, there are usually a couple of hundred more dispersed around the garden.

I decided to take action and found a half full packet of snail corns left from last year which I distributed in strategic places in the garden. I am really an animal lover and I know that each insect has a purpose in his insect life, but I am not to keen when the slugs find the purpose being to bring his knife and fork with him for a layed table during the night. They are especially keen on marigolds and lupins of which I have both in the garden. Although I think they seem to be keen on anything that has a green leaf.

The tragic end came the next morning when my garden was full of slugs which had had their last meal on a snail corn. Readers, do not despair, the next day there were another few hundred ready to eat what was left on the plants. At the moment I seem to be winning the fight. Not even do my cats help me as they do not like having sticky paws. By the way I found that slugs like most of all the dried food pellets that my cats eat. A lesson to be learnt - if you have outdoor cats do not leave a bowl of cat pellets out for them to eat as the snails will get them first.

Not all snails are enemies of the gardener. I took the following photos last week when it was still quite warm and dry.

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These snails bring their own house with them and are quite harmless for the gardener. They feed on plants that we would not consider being worth having in the garden. To a certain extent they are quite useful. In this case let the snails with the shells live. I found this sort is known as the Banded White Lip Snail. It is the only kind I have found in my garden with a house up to now. They seem to be content to sit on my blackberry stalks and watched the insect world go by.

And with a photo of a snail group I will come to an end.

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