Tips for Dealing with Slugs and Snails

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Slugs and Snails

I would like to say that slugs and snails are friendly, useful creatures to have in your garden – but I can’t. Slugs and snails have tremendous appetites for devouring your plants. The younger, tastier and more precious your plants the more likely they are to go for them. Young lettuce seedlings seem to be very tasty and a whole row can be devoured overnight by these innocuous critters.

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What can be done short of killing slugs? – here are some Eco friendly tips:

Tips to avoid slug damage

  • Discourage slugs by removing edible debris and any slugs you can spot
  • A ‘beer trap’ consisting of a low tray full of beer or similar fluid can attract and drown the slugs.
  • An upturned cabbage leaf will attract a host of slugs overnight and they can be collected and dispatched according to your preference.
  • New ‘green’ sprays and pellets have not yet impressed me but there are a range to try.
  • Some plants are less attractive to slugs. Foxgloves, Aqualegia, Nasturtiums, Euphorbia
  • Leave Bran out. Slugs love bran it may fill them up. If they over-indulge it can even kill them.

Barrier methods to stop slugs:

  • Copper works as a barrier as they wont slide and slither on it. Copper bands and tape are available to protect your most cosseted specimens.
  • A raised bed with a copper edging can be used in your veg plot
  • Gravel, crushed egg shells, recycled wool pellets and other hard to slitter across barriers are recommended by various gardeners and companies but the column inches devoted to the subject show that few of them work totally. When it is wet they find a way across to gorge on your tasty crops.
  • ‘Slug Gone’ are wool based pellets that are organic and pet safe. The wool forms a barrier by felting together the small barbs on the wool fibres. Useful around prized plants but expensive for general use.

Beer Traps

slug-trap-beer

If you sink a plastic pot into the ground and fill it with beer, slugs will go and drink the beer and probably get stuck and not be able to escape. In heavy rain, the beer becomes diluted. Quite effective for catching some.

Biological control

A higher tech solution is to buy a biological control called Nematodes which is watered in and the nematode microbes eat them and destroy the slugs.

These are watered into the ground. They don’t work in winter when it is too cold. They are effective in getting the underground slugs.

This is a very good method. Bio-friendly and you let the Nemotodes do the work.

Slug Pellets

slug exterminator

Size 9 gardening boots or fly them into the middle of a busy road.

Slug pellets containing metaldehyde spread every six inches or so are effective killers and last in my experience for about 10 days. However they are not pet friendly although most brands have been treated with a flavouring to deter.

Good luck and if you find a permanent solution you could be on your way to making a fortune.

Read more about  Slug Pellets and protecting Hostas from Slugs

Slug Pellets and Slug Exterminator at Amazon


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9 Responses to Tips for Dealing with Slugs and Snails

  1. Jim August 5, 2009 at 16.03 #

    I have found that surrounding my squash and cucumber plants with a barrier of lime will stop slugs and snail 100%. Lime is also a great deterrent for snakes. Last year I used the lyme and it was the first year that my plants did not fall prey to slugs.

  2. Valerie Gillman July 15, 2012 at 16.03 #

    I can’t tell slug damage from earwig damage. Can anyone give me pointers? Everytime I look into a half eaten flower I see a hiding earwig. Next to earwigs, slugs are cute!

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