Many treatments to rid our gardens of these pests, including snail pellets and baits, risk accidental poisoning of children, dogs, and birds.
Other treatments, including barriers of coffee grounds, sawdust, ash, or diatomaceous earth, are not effective when wet, and a wet summer is predicted. Never use salt as a barrier. Salt is very damaging to soil and plants.
Snails and slugs need moisture and shelter from predators. Upturned plant pots with a stone to raise the edge, or a broad plank laid flat along a garden bed both provide damp shelter for snails and slugs. Left overnight and flipped over in the morning, the ‘harvest’ can be fed to ducks or chooks, or disposed of in a sealed bag. Or, they can be drowned in double strength coffee.
A method of snail and slug control that we have found effective are snail traps. These pests are attracted to the yeasty smell of fermentation. Flat beer or wine works well, or you could also try a dollop of Vegemite dissolved in hot water.
Place a small amount of beer in the bottom of each plastic jar, or yoghurt container that is buried in soil under mulch. If you have lots of snails, half fill the jar. Bury the container at an angle with the lip of the jar just above soil level, as shown in the diagram, so that it is easier for the slimy creatures to enter the jar. You can keep left over beer or wine in a screw top container in the fridge for topping up snail traps as required.
Only use plastic containers, not glass, as glass can shatter in a hail storm, scattering shards and beer in all directions. Please do not empty the trap residue onto the soil, Beer in soil is very detrimental to the earthworms who work hard to improve the depth of your topsoil.