Friday, January 15, 2010

Bloody snails!

First, a special msg to my visitors from France!

Bonjour amis de France. Bienvenue, merci de visiter mon blog de votre forum. Je sais que vous amour phals, moi aussi, j’aime phals! Mais regardez mes plants et les adultes plantes, ils ont ete attaques par escargots. Les escargots sont d'un pot prises a l'exterieur. Je deteste escargots!


Yesterday evening I had quite a rude shock when I found many of my phal seedlings, big and small, in very bad condition with leaves chomped on by snails. It was still light so I found only one medium sized snail and one small slug, the rest must have been hiding away under pots and in the media.


The damage was pretty bad. Some large ones were eaten right down to the stem. This one, in the above photo, was just recovering from a bad spider mite attack but look at what’s happened to it. From spider mites to snails, my poor phals!

So last night, after a heavy rain, I opened a packet of snail poison and placed the granules all around the pots, in the pots, in the media and sprinkled some below the seedling rack as well. This morning, I woke up to find countless snails of all sizes dead (or dying)!


A big common garden snail, imagine if this one had gone unnoticed! Many of my phals in the seedling/nursery area would have been eaten up by this monster!


The snail poison is very effective but I cannot stand the smell, it nearly knocked me out when I popped the packet open. I have to wear a mask in the future.


Besides the big ones, there are also plenty of tiny ones everywhere. These are the most difficult to deal with as they can hide in the smallest crevices. Also, because of their size, they often do not encounter a snail bait. For such small ones, I have to sprinkle a bit of the snail poison in powdered or crushed form. These tiny ones are probably the young newly hatched snails of the type in the photo below.



Besides phals, they attack my vanda seedlings placed in the same area as well. Their favorite item on the menu is a new juicy, succulent phalaenopsis leaf or root tip. They cause a lot of damage because the affected leaves often become infected and the rot spreads down to the crown. Many of my species phals do not have perfect foliage because of the snails. It’s a never ending battle!



Imagine if I had not laid out the poison last night, this small hybrid phal seedling would not have seen the light of day!


I never had any problems with snails in the nursery area before because it is in a covered area at the side of the house. These snails must have come from a pot introduced carelessly from the main shade house as plants were being shifted around due to the heavy rain we’ve been getting recently.


For the next few weeks I have to sprinkle the snail poison diligently once per week to try and kill all of the intruders. Hopefully things will return to normal and the survivors will recover. Geez, from spider mites to caterpillars to snails, do you guys living and growing orchids in temperate and colder regions experience the same problems we do here in the tropics?


JVinOZ said...

Watch out for pets - dogs in particular love this bait.

equestris said...

That's a pity! And that's a difficult war against them, they are so numerous!

sarawaklens said...

Thanks John for the heads up.
Alain, it's a never ending battle!

Anonymous said...


Cela me fait mal de voir les dégâts et je vous donne quelques renseignements.
Il existe la lutte biologique avec des parasites naturels: Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita contre les limaces •Steinernema kraussie, •Heterorhabditis megidis,contre ornythorynque mais il faut faire attention a ce qu'ils restent dans votre espace de culture.


Sim Su Jian said...

My orchid so far don have snail problem...

sega31098 said...

If you can find it, put copper around the pots. It is said that it gives the snails a little shock and they will avoid it.

Also, I have a feeling that the snail that you crushed was not actually dead, but just injured (Poor snail - and poor plant). If you wish to kill them you should aim for the head or pulverize them. I don't think a single stomp is always good enough.

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