Garlic works like charm to repel snails

The French have known for generations that garlic and snails make a perfect gastronomic combination. Now scientists have shown that garlic also doubles up as an excellent snail repellent for the garden.

An eco-friendly pesticide based on garlic oil has been shown to drive slugs and snails to distraction, says Gordon Port, a biologist at Newcastle University.

"It is not clear how it works. All we know is that a barrier of garlic oil will cause slugs and snails to turn around and head the other way. If they can't escape from it, it will kill them. It seems to cause an overproduction of their mucus, so effectively they dry up," Dr Port told the annual conference of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

Dr Port used garlic extracts in laboratory tests on slugs and snails and is working with an organic pesticide company to make a product, which has been sent to the Government's committee on the safety of pesticides to gain approval.