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Snails are a species of gastropada, which carry their shells on their backs. Some species can be quite large such as the African landsnail Achatina fulica, which grows to about 40 cm and can weigh up to a kilo. Taxonomic families of land slugs and sea slugs occur within numerous larger taxonomic groups of shelled species. In other words, the reduc­tion or loss of the shell occurs many times inde­pendently within several very different lineages of gastropods, thus the various families of slugs are very often not closely related to one another.

Snail are simultaneous hermaphrodites; each individu­al has both testes and ovaries and is capable of producing both sperm and ova. Instances of self fer­tilisation are rare, as they occur only in very small populations. Although both snails in a mating pair can simultaneously transfer gametes to each other (bilateral mating), this is dependent on the size difference between the partners. Snails of similar size will reproduce in this way. Two snails of differing sizes will mate unilaterally (one way), with the larger individual acting as a female. This is due to the comparative resource investment, associated with the different genders.

Snails are also farmed as edible species, of which there are quite a few. Snails provide an easily harvested source of protein to many people around the world. Land snails, freshwater snails and sea snails are all eaten in a number of countries.

In addition to the farming of edible snails, they also impact agri­culture as a pest. Snails and slugs destroy crops by eating roots, leaves, stems and fruits. They are able to abrade and consume a large variety of plants with the abrasive radula

Slugs are not just snails without houses. They make up a closely related family under the phylum molluscae. Slugs are a species which lack a conspicuous shell, although other than having a re­duced shell or no shell at all, there are really no appreciable dif­ferences between a slug and a snail, except in habitat and behavi­or. The shell-less slug is much more maneuverable and compress­ible and thus even quite large specimen can take advantage of habitats or retreats with very little space, squeezing themselves into places that would be inaccess­ible to a similar-sized snail such as under loose bark on trees or under stone slabs, logs or wooden boards lying on the ground. They also have a portective shield, but it is not hard like the snail, although it has close correspondence. When a slug meets something it does not like, it contracts the eyestalk inside the protect­ive mantle. Both snails and slugs have soft bodies and discharge a slimy mucus, which is almost en­tirely made up of silica. The trail of this silvery mucus is a telltale sign where these molluscs have been on their nocturnal rampage in the garden.


The snail and slug are pests both in the garden and greenhouse. They can be kept out of the green­house if a border free from grass and plants is made between the walls and the rest of the garden. Pots should be stored away from any vegetation, since snails and slugs will use them as shelter dur­ing the day and lay countless eggs in and on them, thus introducing their offspring into the green­house.


Dry and cold weather as well as daylight, both sunny and overcast, will send these pests under cardboard, stones, old leaflitter, and other debris in the garden. One way to avoid them is to keep the garden clean of such litter. One can also use a piece of cardboard as a trap in otherwise clean gardens. However, snails and slugs do have a function that can be used to the gardener's advantage.


If a remedy is used against them, always make sure to not water the weeds that grow in the garden. Because the snail must survive, it will start consuming the weeds when deprived of cultivated plants and so they can be put to work and made useful.

 

Rumina decollata.

Rumina decollata. Decollate snail. N.O. Gastropoda. Trituration of the toasted animal.

CLINICAL: Snails and slugs.

GENERAL:

Rumina decollata or the decollate snail is a predator of other snails and slugs. The shell of the decollate snail is long and roughly cone-shaped. It grows to ap­proximately 40 mm in length, and upon reaching ma­ture size, grinds or chips off the end of its own shell by moving its body roughly against hard surfaces, so that the shell takes on a decollate shape, tapering to a blunt end. In the UK and other European countries it prefers the brown garden snail, but will eat any other species. It originates from the mediterranean basin and has been imported all over the world as a predator of snails. It is a voracious eater, which also digs in the soil to find snail eggs. It is mainly active at night and can withstand periods of drought well, as it digs itself deep in the soil. It is mainly active at night and can consume quite a few snails in one sitting. It loves rainy weather, like all snails and slugs and breeds pro­fusely during such times. Unfortunately it will also consume harmless local species of land gastropods, and beneficial annelids such as earthworms. Decollate snails are tolerant of dry and cold conditions, during which they burrow deep into the soil. They are most active during the night and during rainfall.


It is however difficult to establish it in a new environ­ment and it may take a few years before it gains any control over other species of snail. It also feeds on plant matter, but this is minor compared to its predat­ory habits.


As a remedy in homoeopathic potency, none of the less desirable qualities are present and it works more efficiently in controlling snail populations. The rem­edy has no effect on earthworms and this feature makes it more attractive as a homoeopathic remedy. It is imme­diately effective and is not dependent on time or cir­cumstances. Since the snails are not killed by the rem­edy, they can moreover be useful in eating the weeds in the garden, since cultivated plants become unpalat­able after receiving Ru­mina.

 

Absinthum



Absinthum Common wormwood. 

CLINICAL:

Snails and slugs.

GENERAL:

Since ancient times wormwood has been used as a remedy to keep snails and slugs off cultivated plants such as vegetables and flowers. To this end the plant was dried and applied as a powder, sprinkled around the plants to be protected. Today, we use the remedy in a homoeopathic potency with equal success.


Quassia

Quassia amara spp. N.O. Sapindales. Trituration of the extract.

CLINICAL:

Snails and slugs.

GENERAL:

Quassia is a tropical plant, which grows in South-America, Africa, Australia and Asia.
Quassin, the extracted alkaloid, is a white bitter, crystalline substance extracted from the tree. It is one of the most bitter substances found in nature with a bitter threshold of 0.08 ppm and it is 50 times more bitter than quinine.
The different species are:

Quassia africana

Quassia amara

Quassia bidwillii

Quassia indica

Quassia sp. 'Moonee Creek' - Australia

Quassia sp. 'Mount Nardi' - Australia

Quassia undulata

This tree has been used as a snail and slug repellent, which most probably works through its bitterness. It has been in use in organic agriculture and is part of a commercial brew made by companies that serve organics. It is sold under the name of Fertosan in the USA. These products are all still used following the adage that to kill the pest is the ultimate goal. This is a self-defeating exercise, since by killing one, the user will invite several 100 to the funeral.

In the homoeopathic view of agriculture, we take the more sensible approach of considering the pest or disease to be but one of the symptoms that indicate the type of stress our plants are under. Since the plant is having the problem, it is the plant that needs the treatment. Chasing the bug or pest is a wild-goose-chase, which will always end in defeat.

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Replies to This Discussion

Great information, Kavi!  Just today at the Farmers' Market, one of my friends told me she was having trouble with snails in her garden.  I was able to reference this article and then call her to let her know just what to do!  She was very grateful......me, too!  Thanks for all you do.  Sometimes it seems that what we do goes unnoticed, but we are creating enormous shifts in consciousness.  CHEERS!!!!!

Thanks Kavi. Great information to have. See you in Gloucester!

Martin

Cool! Certainly see you there!

Don't wanna miss that!

Any idea of what a homeopathic proving of H.Tosta would look like kavi?  it would be great to hear a description and see if that matches what happened in my garden this year! (yes - i overdosed my plants.... i was being a little overzealous...).  suffice it to say we didn't have much to eat this summer in spite of repeated plantings to replace the plants that would disappear (in one case, within 20 minutes of planting out!!!! - never turn your back on a slug!)

No idea, Jennifer. Never done a proving with it. I am curious to see your results. Did you take photos?

nothing to show! they ate it all!!!!  i have never seen so many LARGE healthy slugs and their eggs in all my life.  they even slimed their way up the glass patio doors.  at night, we would look out the window and there they would be. one even managed to get halfway across our living room one evening when we weren't looking!  it was like a bad horror film - 'the attack of the slugs'!  they were so healthy and huge that when i resorted to beer to try and kill them, the larger ones would just drink the beer and then slither drunkenly away - very few drownings there as i would have hoped for.... how i wish i had done a video of that lol...

 

they laid hundreds of eggs in all the pots on our patio and i would go around hand picking them as often as i could.  hand picking has been the only way to get it back down to normal! that and the recent hot dry weather has helped.  next year i'll try again, only i will just do the one dose as you recommend!  

 

Well, you can always try one of the above remedies to at least diminish them now. I gave those remedies so that people have alternatives, when Helix tosta does not work.

It is the beginning of summer here in NZ. I have made up the usual spray of helix tosta, using a 30c potency ( all I had),  sprayed it around the edges of the raised garden, and around and over young plants, nightly, by the 3rd night, no slugs or snails...do not know where they moved to, but gone and very healthy plants left uneaten.

What is the normal potency that people use.

As an aside, used arnica dissolved in water and dunked roots of trees and plants we were moving into biucket before replanting, all successfully transplanted.

I generally use the 6X potency, since with that I need but one application. The snails move to the neighbour's - ask them and offer a dose of Helix. Spread the word; the remedy is the message!

Arnica for transplants from pot to soil is great. Don't use on damaged roots though.

Thank you so much for your reply.

 

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