Orcon is a brand name, short for “Organic Control Inc.” and Dellocate snails are molluscs with the scientific name: Rumina decollata. They are a type of predatory snail that eats brown snails, slugs, other snail types and all of their eggs too! These particular snails are actually beneficial to the garden.
They’ll catch your eye because they have a different appearance than your average garden snail, Dellocate snails are conical and slender whereas average garden snails are more round in shape.
The Dellocate snail was introduced to southern California from the Mediterranean in the early 1970’s to control the brown garden snail. It was then and continues to be very effective.
If you live in a rainy region of the country, I’m sure you’ve had to deal with slugs and snails eating your beautiful garden every time you’re not looking.
Dellocate snails are an excellent solution and do a terrific job in the garden of devouring these icky slugs and brown snails. Since they love eating the egg masses too, they can very quickly bring the snail problem under control and eventually eradicate them altogether over their life span.
It’s always best to use a biological pest control if at all possible. Applying chemical pesticides to the garden is best used only as a back up option in extreme circumstances (if used at all) to other natural pest control methods.
If you have slugs and brown snails, it’s a dream come true to find a biological pest control method like this to deal with the problem.
But there is a catch
The problem is that these snails are only available to residents of a limited area of southern California, USA.
Generally, if you live in southern California south of the Tehachapi mountains you’ll have this option open to you as a biological weapon against slugs and brown snails in your garden. If you have a zip code in the range of 90000-93499, then you can have this item shipped to you without a problem.
I sure would love to be able to use them myself to see them in action and be able to report the results to you directly, but I can’t. I don’t live in that area and so can’t actually use these interesting, voracious little creatures in my garden against the slimy slugs I want out of my garden.
This is due to federal restrictions that limit the use of this product to southern California only. These snails pose a threat to native slug and snail populations in other areas and regions of the continent and therefore are not available outside of southern California.
Photo by Robert Howells (insects.tamu.edu)
Dellocate Snail Facts
– Dellocate snails are longer and more slender in shape, to about 1″ long
– Lives for about 2 years
– Lays about 500 eggs in their lifespan
– They are a burrowing snail and live just under the surface of the soil
– They hunt out the egg masses made by slugs and brown snails
– They sometimes eat young plant seedlings, so use with caution near planting time
– They prefer to eat decaying organic matter
– Not likely to harm healthy garden plants
– They can eradicate a brown snail infestation in 4 – 8 years, chemical free
Orchard farmers and their fruit trees in California will benefit from the use of these snails as well. Apply 5 – 10 snails per orchard tree for complete coverage.
If you are applying the snails to a garden or ground then put down at least 10 snails per square foot to be effective.
It’s best to apply the snails in the evening to a moist area, they prefer the dark and damp living conditions in the leaf litter under trees and shrubs. Use the hose to wet down the area you want to put them beforehand if it’s needed.
Do not place the snails in standing water as they will drown.
Beneficial Insects as Pest Control
Photo by Jack Kelly Clark- University of California
One of the biggest benefits to using these beneficial mollusc as a first line of pest control (rather than chemicals) is that it will continue to work reliably over a long span of time.
The overuse of chemical pesticides have helped the bad bugs of the garden build up resistance to these pesticides, even the organic ones. Organic pesticides often use chemicals too, they’re just naturally sourced.
Over a length of time the bugs will be less and less affected by all pesticides. This is why beneficial predators like this one are better (if you can get them) and continue to work over a long time.
Remember: The destructive bugs will never be able to build up a resistance to being devoured by another insect.
Please share your experiences with other readers. Have you used this creature to help solve a snail or slug problem in your garden? How did it go?