Snail detering copper tape trial...

07 December, 2013

Now it has been for quite some time that I've been waging a war on the snails. For many years they have been the bane of my gardening existance, when newly planted seedlings or direct sown seeds just coming up would either completely disappear or would be eaten down to barely discernable stumps.

Not even feeding them to the ducks has prevented this from happening.

So of late most of my snail protection strategy has relied on copious amounts of snail bait. I don't like this as I like to be an organic gardener and I don't use any other pest managing poisons in my garden apart from pyrethrum. But if it was organic gardening and no crop, or snail bait and a chance at some produce, I went with the snail bait.

But for a while now I've been meaning to trial another option: copper snail tape.

This supposedly works be deterring snails as traveling over the tape gives them a mild electric shock. Hence placing this around plants stops them from getting in and having a munch.

I bought some of the aforementioned product about two years ago, and for that time it has sat in my garden shed. Not particularly useful. But I finally got out the tape and have put this strategy into practice.

Today I planted out my greenhouse raised melon seedlings. And I am trialling the copper tape to see if it stops these being immediately eaten by snails.

Now I had assumed that this copper tape was a thin solid tape of copper. I had planned to make circles of it and place it on the ground around my seedlings. However, this plan was foiled upon my opening the packet and discovering it to be a very flimsy tape which has an adhesive side and is intended to be stuck onto something more solid. Back to the drawing board. I ended up taking some of my drink bottle circles and sticking the tape onto those.

Hopefully this will work.

Now while I am generally a very trusting person, when it comes to my melon seedlings I am suspicious and over-cautious. In case this copper tape is unsuccessful, I have added my usual snail bait.

This will also serve the purpose of showing if any snails get past the copper tape, before dying a snail bait induced death.

Sorry snails, but if its going to be you or the plants, it'll be you.

Does anyone else have any other snail protection success stories not involving snail bait? Coffee grinds? Crushed eggshells? Please tell.


  1. Hi Bek- I have totally stayed away from snail baits- don't trust the chooks won't get to them- or eat dead snails that have been killed by them (weirdly they eat squashed dead snail more than live ones). So to keep my snails down I have basically used a combination of beer traps (which actually seems to be effective for slugs) and what you might call the spotlight method. Basically involves going out in the rain in the dark with a torch and squashing snails! Probably a couple of years ago I was getting 30-50 snails each time- now I would be lucky to find 5-10. I have actually found that to be the most successful option to date. It seems like once you have killed off the breeding population the numbers remain permanently reduced.

    1. I know what you mean. Since my ducks don't get into the garden themselves (I bring the snails to them, so to speak) I feel safe using the pellets knowing they won't accidentally eat a poisoned snail.
      I shall try the search and destroy strategy next rainy night I am home... Will be interesting to see how many I find. Cheers.

  2. I found that the copper tape stopped the pear slugs from attacking my cherry tree.

    1. Interesting!! I shall have to try that also.