Saturday, December 12, 2009

ALWAYS CHECK BEFORE YOU DESTROY

Each year my garden is plagued by snails and pill bugs. For their size, the snails are barely 1/4" in diameter, they certainly can do a lot of destruction. They can home in on the seedlings as they break the surface of the ground and chew away at the lower parts of the stem until the plant just withers away and dies. It isn't true that they only eat decaying material although I'm sure they do their fair share of that too.

So when I spotted one of these while removing some frost damaged vegetation it got a quick crushing. For some reason I knew this was a decollate snail. It is the only snail name I know and I really know nothing about it. All I was thinking was BIG SNAIL. Moving around I came across a small pile of about 8 oak leaves. Since there is no oak tree around I found the pile rather puzzling. Ye gads, underneath were 5 of these snails! Crushed. Now I started to poke around in earnest and found several more. I'm being taken over, I thought. I picked up one to photograph and then went inside and put in 'decollate snail' on google. I was right, Rumina decollata.
What have I done! This is a good snail. He goes around eating all the other snails and slugs. He's a gardener's friend. You can buy him on the internet. Does he eat seedlings too, I wonder?When I find more shall I let them be?
I put back the one I had photographed right next to a big fat slug hiding under the edge of a stone. I hope Rumina had him for supper.

5 comments:

  1. Yikes, I think I'm guilty of killin' that little bugger too! Thanks for the heads up!

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  2. I had no idea. Thanks for letting us know about good snails.

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  3. Hi RR and welcome back!

    I have a load of these in the Patch, great to know finally what they are, and that they are a "relatively" good snail. These elongated snails look like they should belong in the sea don't they?

    My Meyer lemons are only now getting fully ripe. I am a little under the weather so I think a couple of mine will be used in a lemonade and whiskey hot-toddy tonight...Hic! I can't wait to try one!

    Good to have you back in the blogging arena RR.

    ESP.

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  4. ESP- IThanks for the welcome back- it was a shock. If I find I have killed all my snails off I'll be knocking at your door.
    I can usually keep my lemons on the tree until Feb but I think this year they ripened earlier and most are ready now. I have 2 trees I haven't picked andI may leave them on there until they drop off.
    Get well quickly. A good dose of vitamin C should help.

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  5. Your lemons stay on until now, Jenny? Usually mine all fall off in Jan-Feb...not that there are that many of them!

    I found out about the decollate snails in 2008 and have left them alone, too. One of the articles I found said they've been introduced into citrus groves to control the round snails, which makes me wonder if any of the citrus trees we've all bought have carried them to our gardens.

    Hope the hot toddy works for ESP!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

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