What Is A Snails Natural Predator?
The main predators of snails are rodents such as rats and mice and reptiles such as lizards and frogs. Other predators include birds such as currawongs, crows, ducks, butcherbirds, chicken hawks and owls.
Some beetles and centipedes can also be a threat to snails (especially carnivorous beetles such as carabids, and staphylinids), that attack and kill small snails. The beetles live in the soil and enjoy the same moist environment as the snails.
Snail species such as Strangesta capillacea are cannibalistic and care should be taken to make sure that when introducing initial breeding stock, they are identified as Helix aspersa.
The research project did not experience any significant problems with snail predators.
Because the habitat of the snails was dense any movement by snails went undetected by birds. While currawongs were seen in the area, they did not attempt to rummage in the snail fields.
Some centipedes and slugs and small frogs were seen in the fields and a few frog and mouse holes were found (eight mice were trapped). No further mice (or holes) have been detected and a decrease in snail numbers was not identified.
As soon as any type of predator ‘threat’ was noticed, this was removed by hand. Once the fields were cleared out and left fallow, nature appeared to take its course and further threats disappeared.
The main crops grown were silverbeet, forage brassicas, chickory and clover.
In the first year of production the brassicas in the initial reproduction area were attacked by aphids and white cabbage moths.
This was a major problem as no chemicals could be used and the brassicas were the main food source for the breeder snails.
Hosing with a strong jet of water managed to dislodge a lot of the aphids and most of the white cabbage moth caterpillars were removed by hand.
After about three weeks nature once again took its course and the aphids were significantly reduced in number by ladybirds and small wasps attacked and killed the caterpillars.
The desiccated plants were trimmed back and watered and new leaves grew well enough to sustain the snails for another two months.
Good bug bed
Due to the infestation of aphids, it was realized that a strategy was required to enhance and encourage the natural biological agents and controls already present in the garden ecosystem to allow biodynamic principles to be followed.
To improve the natural balance and reduce harmful insect pest outbreaks, particular flowers and herbs known as insectary plants were introduced. These plants provided a nectar source for beneficial insects and acted as an attractant for natural biological control of pest insects.
The mix included annual and perennial flowers such as red clover, alyssum, cosmos, marigolds, Queen Anne’s lace, buckwheat, lucerne, dill, caraway, coriander and gypsophila. These plants provided nectar, pollen and habitat for beneficial insects such as predatory mites, micro wasps, ladybirds, lacewings, hoverflies and predatory beetles.
The insects helped to control aphids, scale, red spider mite, caterpillar and other pests without the use of chemicals.
The ‘good bug bed’ was planted in early spring and its biological control has been successful in controlling many of the pests in the crops grown for snails.
Article Related Questions:
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