Posted: 04/01/2013 at 11:00
I am not too sure that we can win the battle. This year, because the ground has been so waterlogged, I have come face to face with them crawling across my windows, eating the Wisteria over the garage door, on the very top of my Runner Bean poles and even at the top of a Cucumber plant in my greenhouse. They are very resourseful! We humans still enforce hosepipe bans and tolerate being flooded out. Do we ever build more reservoirs upstream to collect and supply our water as required? NO.
I don't remember snails when I was little, here in the Pennines. I would have remembered, because I have never, ever picked a worm up again since my mother rescued half a worm from my mouth when I was at that age! If there had been snails I would have been terrified of them, too. But - when we lived in the South in the 70s Our little son collected snails from our garden. It was the first time that I had seen them. We didn't have them on the allotment - just rabbits!
When we returned to the north in the 80s I noticed snails here up to about 300feet, but none in our garden at 600feet. Now they have certainly climbed. Is this actually climate change? Another thing - it is now fashionable to grow in raised beds and not bother digging. If you dig you will uncover masses of snail eggs - little shiny pearls that look as if they should be decorating a bunch of cup cakes! So we do not remove them at source. I once attended the most wonderful lecture by Chris Beardshaw and he informed us that adult snails look after their eggs by returning to them and covering them with secretions to keep them soft. If we kill mummy and daddy, babies' shells harden and the snails start to eat and grow, and the population explodes! Have you also noticed that they hang out in gangs under plants that they don't eat e.g. Bergania, Cyclamen, Francoa - but so does my fat, resident frog!