|A brown garden snail on one of our rose shrubs.|
Much as I love gardening in the Mediterranean climate of the Napa Valley, I have traded the slugs and aphids of New England for snails and... more aphids.
Everything might be bigger in Texas but I think California must hold some kind of record for the biggest and most plentiful aphids. But I digress.
Cornu aspersa (formerly Helix aspersa), is a major pest. Since each snail has the capacity to reproduce and can produce as many as 500 eggs over the course of a single breeding year, it doesn't take much for the snail population to explode if no one is watching.
|The flower petals were apparently much tastier than the leaves.|
I was excited to plant this primrose in one f our window boxes. I had seen it in full bloom at the nursery and it was a beautiful blend of yellow, apricot, and rose.
Unfortunately, the spray they used contained permethrins, ordinarily a relatively safe insecticide, but one known to cause health problems for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Yep, ours all became ill -- they apparently absorbed the chemical through their paws when they walked on the grass. Nearly three months of persistent diarrhea and occasional vomiting ensued. We got to know our wonderful vets really, really well.
|Garden snail moving along the sidewalk near our apartment in the rain.|
They litter the sidewalks and the entry to the grotto that our apartment opens into. They climb the walls, the shrubs, and the trees.
They get onto our patio and climb up the pots and into the plants. Our wonderful garden is the snail equivalent of an all-you-can-eat buffet.
|Snail climbing the stucco wall in search of food.|
Fortunately, Steve doesn't mind picking them off because I hate touching the slimy little creatures. I dust both the plants (since DE is also helpful in controlling aphids) and the ground around our patio and when I see a lot of them in the shrubbery, near our apartment, I give the shrubs a dusting as well.
Winter and now spring, with all of the rain, has been very snail friendly. I am looking forward to the dry season when the snails will be less active.
For now, every rain, no matter how minimal brings these molluscs out in droves and they do the two things that snails do best: eat, and then breed and make more snails.
The dense fog we get overnight provides just enough moisture to entice them out to feed, so we need to check carefully on those cool, damp mornings. But once the sun comes out, they tend to withdraw into their shells and hide out until it's wet out again. We check the pots carefully and and collect them into a trash bag and dispose of them with the garbage.
|Snails on the walkway approaching our apartment during a light rain this evening.|
|Snails moving along the walkway and grotto into our building, and climbing the stuccoed walls of the apartment.|
|Snails on the wet walkways in search of food.|
|A brown garden snail moving from the grassy area across the sidewalk.|
|Snails gathering in the grass outside of our apartment.|