Hello everyone, I thought I would share this in case it helps anyone here- I've been fighting a loosing battle against those annoying little black flies in my snail tank and it's been driving me mental! I was visiting my local garden centre and I have picked up non-pesticide, non-toxic sticky fly strips that are for use in conservatories and greenhouses. I have suspended this well away from the snails reach inside the tank. (The strips are yellow and blue plastic with tacky glue which apparently attract the flying beasties) So far in 2 nights I have removed nearly 18 flies from the tank and best of all Im not seeing any floating about in the tank. I'm leaving the strip in tonight (you get seven in a pack for around £5 but I'm sure you could source them cheaper) to catch any stragglers then using chiffon to keep them out. The snailies are fine and dandy and I'm sorting the flies- happy! Also at the garden centre I picked up a small ice scraper for £0.99 with a rubber squeegee bit on it, I've found on my glass tank this allows me to squeegee mucus and poo off the glass leaving it really clean using only the water mister and some kitchen roll. tough bits get scraped. Hope this maybe helps someone! :-)
2x A.fulica rodatzi 1x Garden Snail (dented) 1x Tiny thing i feel sorry for
They come with a pack of long bag tie type things I've used this to suspend the strip using two between the narrowest point of the tank. The fresh strip I put in last night has 9 flies attached so far so it's working well for me. There is no odour from the strips and the packaging states it is simple tacky glue and it is the colour of the strips that makes it effective. I lift it out when I mist so as not to soak the sticky bit and not to get the glue residue into the water. All good so far! I'll keep you all updated!
2x A.fulica rodatzi 1x Garden Snail (dented) 1x Tiny thing i feel sorry for
Hi, I recently had a little black fly problem. My snails are cepaea, and local. so I had collected materials from their natural habitat to hold me over the winter. So I did a through cleaning of everything. Took a while but I didn't want to take the chance of fly eggs in the terrariums. Then I rebuilt the terrariums and my snailies love it and so far no more flies. Might not be do-able for everyone but worked for me. vallery:)
3 species unidentified slugs
Post by feelahthetigress on Jan 18, 2013 4:07:43 GMT
Hey guys, those little black "flies" you're talking about are actually fungus gnats. I'm struggling with them now (and have been ever since I got into keeping snails). The snail environment which is humid and warm, is also perfect conditions for the little buggers. The challenge to snail keepers, of course, is that we can't use insecticides or anything that might harm our beautiful beasties.
I've done some research into fungus gnats and come up with several different options, some of which work better than others.
1. Sand Treatment: First off, you can do the sand treatment. You'll have to remove your snails to another housing area during this treatment. What you do is put 2-3 inches of dry sand on the surface of your soil (and if you have plants in your tank don't water them) and let the tank dry out for 1 month. The larva require moisture to live and will die off in this situation. This method has limitations because it requires you to move all your snails and wait an entire month. Plus, once you finish and move your snails back, you're likely to eventually get a new infestation since it's now moist and gnat-friendly again.
2. Yellow Sticky Trap: This doesn't kill adults (who only have a lifespan of 7 days anyway) but you can put down a YELLOW sticky trap directly on the soil (where gnats tend to fly) to catch them since they are attracted to the color yellow. It's best to do this at the same time you conduct the sand treatment since you don't want your hapless snails getting stuck themselves.
2. Chiffon: this isn't a method of killing gnats, but more of a prevention method. Any air holes or vents in your snail tank lid need to be covered with chiffon. It's quite easy to tap some on over the holes with some duck tape. This fine cloth is too small for gnats to pass through and should help prevent most of them from entering (a few always seem to worm their way in during cleanings or in new soil, etc. It's a good preventative measure to implement regardless.
3. Vinegar trap - this involves taking a jar or cup and either poking holes in the jar lid or placing saran wrap (secured with rubber band) over the cup and poking holes in it. The cup/jar should be filled with vinegar or red wine and a couple drops of dish soap. This is basically a trap for adult gnats, but I find that it doesn't attract gnats too well at all. It does, however, work well with fruit flies, if that is your problem.
___________________________________ OK, those are the methods I've actually tried, but there are several I have yet to try.
1. Potato slices - placed directly on the soil, the gnat larvae are attracted to them and you can place one overnight, then remove it and several larva attached to it in the morning. Keep repeating until the gnats are reduced in number. I haven't tried this because I think it'd be icky to see all those larva and I'd prefer not to see them. Also, just like the sticky traps, this is a very scattershot method.
2. Mint/Lavender - I'm told the smell of these things repels gnats (but won't kill them), but I've never tried it. They seem like they'd be harmless to snails. If you had a source of fresh mint or lavender, you could probably place some in the tank. I imagine dried could work too.
3. Beneficial nematodes (Hypoapsis mites) - these will eat the gnat larva, but once you rid your tank entirely of gnats, they'll probably all die off and force you to buy more if you ever get another infestation. I haven't tried this method because I'm freaked out by the idea of "mites"and they are rather expensive to keep having to buy.
4. Gnatrol - This one seems to have the most potential. It's not a chemical pesticide, but a natural bacteria (thuringiensis var. israelensis) that specifically kills the larva of fungus gnats and also works on mosquito larva (in fact, you can use the alternative product called "Mosquito Dunks" as it contains the same thing, but that's dry and the gnatrol will be easier to use as a spray) . It's used by worm farmers since it's totally harmless to earth worms and other animals, and since it doesn't harm worms would most probably be harmless to snails. The gnatrol is a powder/pill that is dissolved in water (if you use tap water, let it sit out overnight to let that chlorine evaporate - you're gnatrol will work better that way). You have to apply the product via spraying it in water until the soil is well wetted. The bacteria die after about 72 hours, so repeated regular sprayings (say, every three days) over the course of two months (to make absolutely sure you get all the gnat larva that hatch) would be best. If you don't have a sever crazy infestation you could probably only treat for 1 month. If gnats reappear, repeat treatment. I like this option because you don't need to move the snails, it shouldn't hurt them, and it's more targeted and effective than the other methods. Plus, it's fairly inexpensive (you can get a year's supply for $10, or so I'm told - definitely cheaper than the nematodes). It doesn't kill adult gnats, but if you manage to kill off the larva you can break their reproductive cycle.
Things to NOT use:
1. Diatomaceous earth - it will kill fungus gnats, but it'll kill your slugs and snails too, so a bad option.
2. Cinnamon (only Ceylon Cinnamon Species, Cinnamomum verum) - this works by killing the fungus the gnats feed off of if you mix it into the soil and place a layer on the top soil. However, it also kills composting worms (bad if worms are part of your tank system) and cinnamon oil is used to kill snails and slugs in gardens, so this is NOT a good option.
3. Any chemical pesticide that's made to kill insects - this is pretty obvious, but any chemical pesticide that kills a wide variety of bugs won't be good for your snaily friends.
_________________________________________________ SO, what conclusion can we reach here? I'm thinking of trying out the gnatrol, and combining it with a few other methods, such as the mint/lavender and maybe a sticky trap now and then (although I'll have to come up with a creative method of keeping the snails from sticking to it).
Concerning the mint/lavender, I'm thinking of spreading it on my houseplants, and maybe mixing some into the snail's soil (if you have worms, they can eat it as it rots). Or, alternatively, if I had some fresh, I could simply place a sprig in there every now and then (sadly, I don't have a fresh supply). I have another idea as well, of using a mesh tea ball to hold the dried herbs. That way when they get old, they could simply be removed and replaced easily. I've also heard that one could take a cotton ball and wet it with mint essential oil and then place that in the tea ball (so snails can't get to it) and that might work. I don't know if essential oils would be too strong and hurt the snails or not though, so maybe that shouldn't be tried.
Anyway, that's all my thoughts (quite a few!) guys. If you have any information to share or have tried these methods, I'd much appreciate your input.
RIP to my many Helix Aspersa Inflectarius inflectus (Shagreen Snail) - RIP Geoffrey Mesodon thyroidus (White Lipped Globe Snail) - RIP Percival, Alistair Bulimulus guadalupensis-RIP I keep several species now...no idea what they are, but they're cute!
The problem I have which is only during the summer is those fruit flies, but not just with my tanks but in my kitchen. They were a problem before I even started having pet snails. I noticed a few spiders had taken up residence in the kitchen and little piles of fruit flies below their nests so I let them stay. They do a good job keeping the fly population down.
3 species unidentified slugs
Or what you could do is get a Tupperware container, put a banana in, mix up sugar water and pour a bit in, and then cover the top with Saran wrap and poke holes to get rid of fruit flies. At least it works for me.
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