Everything starts from an egg – spare the “which came first? egg or hen” paradox. We are not discussing that. Instead, we will focus on something more important – how to get rid of snail eggs?
If you see hordes of snails coming out of nowhere, you have likely granted them Shangri-la in your home to lay eggs.
Yes, it’s such a nuisance when a snail infestation occurs. Isn’t it? So, what option does one have to get rid of this inconvenience?
Fret not. In this article, I will explain how you can get rid of these pesky critters and their eggs from your backyard and aquarium and live happily ever after.
How To Get Rid Of Snail Eggs?
The best approach would be to scrape these eggs manually. But if the infestation is uncontrollable, deploy natural predators or use chemicals like metaldehyde and bitrex to get rid of pond and garden snail eggs. As for aquarium snail eggs, you must first take out other tankmates, especially invertebrates, and only then treat the tank with copper sulfate.
Let’s dive more into detail.
Usually, when this type of query pops up on the internet, two kinds of people are looking for an answer.
Some are looking to eliminate the garden snails and their eggs that have infested the yard. And some have trouble dealing with aquarium snail eggs.
And yes, I will explain how to get rid of snail eggs in both scenarios.
Let’s first get done with how to remove garden snail eggs.
Garden snails are pesky critters that emerge out of nowhere during the onset of monsoon. And once they encroach, it demands herculean effort to remove them. I am not even exaggerating!
So, you can best check for snail eggs in your garden and exterminate them before they hatch.
When you get the first sniff, like spotting a few slimy creatures in your yard, start a search party to hunt down their eggs.
But first, you need to know what garden snail eggs look like.
Snail eggs do not have any kind of fixed shape. Instead, you will find them in clusters. They have a jelly-like texture and are translucent brown or gray.
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Now that you have a rough idea of how they look, let’s discuss how to remove them.
Ways To Remove Garden Snail Eggs
- Remove eggs manually
- Till and plow to destroy snail eggs
- Remove weed
- Deploy natural predators
- Grow snail-repellant plants
- Use organic substances like garlic, salt, or ash
- Use chemicals like metaldehyde and bitrix
Remove Eggs Manually
Manual removal works best if you can spot snail eggs early. Check for snails’ hideouts like logs, rocks, and other screened areas.
After you spot them, pluck and remove them. But first, wear gloves to prevent any disease transmission. These slimy gastropods carry pathogens that could harm you and your family.
Timing is another important element when you go for a snail egg hunt. The appropriate times are morning and evening. This is when snails come out of their hiding places – making it easier for you to find their eggs.
Till And Plow To Kill Snail Eggs
Tilling or plowing is also effective in removing snail eggs from your backyard. Snails usually lay their eggs on the earth’s surface. And when you till the land, these eggs, too, will get plowed and destroyed.
Snails use all sorts of hiding places to lay their eggs. For example, garden snails get their food from plants, so it is where they will stick most of their eggs.
So, if the bushes in your yard have grown unruly, it is time you prune them.
There are several ways to remove weeds from your garden. You can manually pull them out or use chemicals like white vinegar, apple cider, or boric acid (a powerful weed killer) to kill them.
However, not everyone is comfortable using chemicals in their yards. If that is the case with you, opt for the solarization method. Not only does it kill and prevent weed, but also the snail eggs.
In this method, you will first clear out any kind of debris from the soil. Then you wet the ground to let the heat seep inside the earth with the help of moisture.
Now, cover the soil with white transparent plastic. Do not use black plastic as this will only heat the plastic, not the area under the cover.
Also, ensure the plastic is stretched and tight to let the light enter without any barrier.
Keep the ground covered for at least a month or six weeks.
However, this won’t work if your garden doesn’t get enough sunlight. So, be mindful of where you conduct your experiment.
Deploy Natural Predators (The Biological Method)
There’s a pecking order in the animal kingdom, and we can all agree that snails sit way down in the hierarchy. So, it’s good news that many creatures will eat snails in your backyard.
I know some folks who intentionally make a small hole in the fence for feral animals to enter and gobble the snail hordes in summer.
But I won’t recommend you to do the same. Inviting wild animals to solve snail infestation can go south if you don’t know what you are doing.
Instead, if you have chickens, frogs, geese, or ducks in your care, they can be of great help. You can also include pocket pets like hedgehogs and hamsters in the predator list.
If it is the infestation of pond snail eggs we are talking about, try introducing kuhli loach, putterfish, cichlid, goldfish, cory catfish, or pleco to the water bodies. These fish love the taste of snail eggs.
Grow Snail-Repellant Plants
There are some plant species, like the seaweed, that snails hate. These plants have sodium chloride in their stem and leaves, which repels snails.
So, growing seaweed in your pond can quite effectively curtail the snail population in your yard.
Similarly, there are several other plants whose aroma snails find repulsive. Word in the town is that snails do not like the fragrance of lavender, sage, rosemary, California poppy, fuchsia, nasturtium, lantana, impatiens, purple robe cup, and begonia.
If your backyard is full of these herbs and flowers, there’s little to no chance that snails will lay eggs near the periphery.
Not everyone likes peppering their yards with chemicals, even if they help get rid of snails. So, if you are searching for some organic elements to do the trick, let me suggest three ways:
Once you spot snail nests, take some salt and sprinkle it throughout the area. Salt absorbs water from most invertebrates’ bodies and dehydrates them instantly. So, this trick does work on snails as well.
Not only does it work on snails, but it also helps kill the snail eggs. However, you must be careful not to sprinkle it over plants.
It might sound preposterous, but garlic is a snail killer. When you sprinkle garlic water over the snail, it causes irritation and kills them.
Here’s how you make a garlic spray to kill snails and their eggs:
Take 2 to 3 cloves of garlic and a 1/10 gallon of water. It is better to crush the garlic before putting it in the water. Boil it for about 10 minutes. Let it cool and pour it into a spray bottle. And spray it over the snails’ hideouts.
The ash from your last bbq party will now come in handy. It is a natural repellant for snails, so sprinkle it on the bases of the plants where the pesky pests usually hang around. And when they find that the garden is full of ashes, they will not dare to nest in your yard.
This is the last resort to control snail infestation in the garden. So, it is recommended to use it only if one has tried every method and the results have been futile. Also, most chemicals are lethal for humans.
Albeit, certain chemicals are less toxic than others. So let’s dive deeper into these formulas.
Previously, formulas like metaldehyde snail bait were popular for their effectiveness. When a snail consumes metaldehyde, it becomes paralyzed and starts secreting a huge amount of mucus, dehydrating its body.
And being paralyzed, the snail cannot reach waterbodies to recuperate water loss, resulting in death.
Effective it might be, it is toxic as well. It can have detrimental effects on cats, dogs, birds, and humans, especially children.
As metaldehyde was available in the form of pellets, birds mistook them for food and devoured them. This led to a mass killing of birds in the US. Furthermore, it also affected vegetation and crop. So, manufacturers had to come up with something new.
Then came the Bitrex.
Now, this combination included both metaldehyde and bitrex.
A quick trivia: According to Guinness World Records, Bitrex is the bitterest substance to date.
So, due to its bitterness, other pets and animals avoid it. And it can make non-consumable products much safer. For example, it is added to household cleaning products to make them safe in case children accidentally consume them.
It is mysterious why this formula isn’t known to many.
Finally, the manufacturers came up with iron phosphate snail bait. These pellets are mixed with grain flour to lure snails.
Unlike metaldehyde, iron phosphate is highly effective at lower temperatures. However, it is not water-resistant, dissolving quickly during rainfall.
Iron phosphate is different from metaldehyde because it doesn’t paralyze the snail. And even after consuming it, snails can return to their hiding place. And whether they die or survive is another story. So, you can’t be sure of the kill count with this formula.
So, which chemical is the best remedy to remove snails and their eggs?
Although iron phosphate is the safest product to use, it is also the least effective. So, if you can find the combination of metaldehyde and bitrex, go for it.
But with there have been new breakouts in the snail removing procedure. Here’s a product that has become the alternative to all these chemicals. This snail and slug killer from Monterey has been hailed to be even better than the traditional formulas. It is safer to use even in the presence of dogs and cats.
Truth be told, all these chemicals play a secondary role in annihilating snail eggs. They are more of a snail killer.
No snails translate to no snail eggs. Simple as that.
How To Identify Aquarium Snail Eggs?
Aquarium eggs are easy to identify compared to wild snail eggs, which are hard to spot. The same jelly-like texture is present in aquarium snail eggs, too. The eggs appear bright pink, yellow, or orange in the beginning. As they fertilize, the pigmentation darkens over time.
How To Remove Aquarium Snail Eggs?
Try these methods to get rid of snail eggs in your aquarium.
- Scrape them manually
- Introduce predators
- Use copper sulfate
- Remove their shelter
- Trim overgrown plants
- Use baits
- Stop snails from laying eggs
Scrape Them Manually
You can scrape off snail eggs by using a spatula or plastic spoon. You can also use expired credit cards to do it. Personally, this is my favorite way to get rid of aquarium eggs. I do it at regular intervals.
Doing it once and assuming everything is under control is wishful thinking. If you truly want to get rid of snail eggs, you must do manual cleaning religiously. I cannot stress how important that is.
The best time to scrape snail eggs would be during a water change. This way, you will kill two birds with one stone.
Fish like pleco, guppy, betta, kuhli loach, dwarf loach, pleco, koi, whiptail, yoyo loach, and cory catfish eat snail eggs.
Disclaimer: There’s no guarantee that everyone will go after snail eggs.
Nonetheless, introducing these predators does help in keeping the gastropod population in check.
Some bigger species like bala shark, betta fish, striped Raphael catfish, and not to miss, the infamous assassin snails crave snails.
Use Copper Sulfate
Copper sulfate is another chemical you can give a shot if you want to obliterate snail eggs from your tank. But only use this as a last resort to eliminate pesky aquarium snails and their eggs.
Copper sulfate is highly toxic to gastropods and other invertebrates like crabs, crayfish, and shrimps. So, not only does it kill snail eggs, it will decimate your snails, too.
Even a concentration of 0.01% can wipe out all snails in your tank within 2 hours. And if the temperature is on the higher spectrum, the effect manifolds even faster.
In addition, copper sulfate is also unsafe for your aquarium plants. It disturbs their photosynthesis process. So, some aquarists even use it to kill algae and weeds.
So, what about copper’s effect on fish?
Glad you asked. Fish are quite resistant to copper. However, higher concentrations will have negative impacts on them, too.
So, if you want to control snail infestation in a community tank, you need to be gentle with the dosage to keep other tankmates safe from its effects.
Remove Their Shelter
Here are a few real estate snails are most interested in: the driftwoods, rocks, and tank decors. These things provide a safe haven to lay their eggs discreetly.
Therefore, you need to check these spots regularly and remove eggs immediately.
I recommend you remove the decors you deem unnecessary from the tank. Hoarding them will only make it harder for you to control snail infestation.
Trim Overgrown Plants
Snails lay their eggs everywhere they deem safe. And when they feel safe, you will see them breeding rapidly and laying eggs all over your overgrown plants. They lay on leaves, stems, and even roots. This is why regular trimming and clipping are necessary.
Tip: Do not trim excessively.
This is more of a preventive measure. Hobbyists use all kinds of bait to lure snails. I like to use the cucumber method. I don’t know why but snails love cucumber.
Let me tell you how it is done.
Take a cucumber and leave it in the tank overnight. The next morning, you will see swarms of snails over it. Take them out and put them in a zip-lock bag.
If you want to end them humanely, put them inside the refrigerator.
Stop Snails From Laying Eggs
Before I end this article, here are some tips on how to stop snails from laying eggs in the first place:
Identify sexes and put only males in the tank
I have seen people trying to differentiate male snails from females and vice-versa. But trust me, it is not an easy task. So, the best method is to keep the newly brought snail couple in a tank and wait for a month.
If they lay eggs, they are, of course, females.
Do not believe if your seller says they are male. No matter what the seller says, there’s always an equal chance of getting female snails in the lot.
Identify The Species
You certainly don’t want the snail species you brought home later to change its gender and start laying eggs. But, yes, that does happen.
Only experts with years of experience can tell if a snail is hermaphrodite or not just by looking at it.
This is why you need to know which snail species have differentiated gender. Here are some:
- Mystery snail
- Nerite snail
- Assassin snail
- Rabbit snail
- Gold Inca snail
- Ivory snail
Often the rare and exotic ones seem to be hermaphrodites. So, choose your snails wisely.
Lower The Water Temperature
Snails are finicky about the temperature of their habitat. Most demand the temperature range between 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. So, if the mercury drops below 70 degrees, the breeding frequency will cease.
Cut Back On Diet
Snails require a substantial amount of energy for mating and laying eggs. And when you cut back on their feeding, they will definitely lower their breeding frequency.
By now, you might have realized that there is more than one way to get rid of snail eggs. Anyway, the takeaway from this article is that “prevention is better than cure”.
Knowing how to exterminate the eggs can only do so much. Understanding snails’ sexes and species classification is equally necessary to control their infestation.
I hope my take on this article has been beneficial to you. Happy snail keeping!