At last! How to banish snails from your garden

Environment Editor

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The perennial gardener’s question of how to get rid of snails may have been answered.

Lobbing them into the neighbour’s garden won’t make them go away, according to a new study which provides the strongest evidence yet that the pesky mollusc has a homing instinct.

A month after one in five of Britain’s gardeners admitted to dropping their snails over the fence, new research into the plant-munchers shows this approach not only to be un-neighbourly, but ineffective to boot.

This is because throwing them a few metres from the garden perimeter doesn’t work – they just come back again, concludes the new study by Queen Mary University of London and the University of Exeter.

However, there is a solution, according to the report, which is published today in the Physica Scripta journal.

If the snail is moved by a much greater distance - of around 20 metres - it no longer returns. This suggests that, at this distance, the snail’s homing instinct is nullified, the report says.

“Gardeners should be setting out to minimise the damage done by snails, which our results showed could be quickly achieved by simply removing the snails over 20 metres away,” said Co-author of the study Professor David Dunstan, from Queen Mary University of London.

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