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How to Control Slugs & Snails

How to Control Slugs & Snails

Ferric phosphate is the modern treatment for slugs & snails.

It works by causing pathological changes to the slug’s digestive system causing it to quickly stop feeding. They subsequently become less mobile and die within 3-6 days.The nemesis of gardeners and allotmenteers everywhere, slugs and snails are an ever present pest that can be controlled but rarely completely eliminated for good. Slugs are soft bodied molluscs characterised by their lack of a hard external body or shell. They mostly feed on decaying garden matter such as leaves, cuttings, etc. but enjoy munching through plant leaves, stems and seedlings.

Look for:

  • High likelihood of damage to plants on a wet/ warm/ humid night
  • Slime trails - usually found the morning after a snail/ slug attack
  • Damage to plants - irregular holes


Certain plants seem more prone to attack than others; wheat and oil-seed seedlings are susceptible as well as peas, beans, lettuce, cabbage and potatoes are often targeted. In the garden: hostas, sweet peas and dahlias are a favourite.

Slugs can vary in size, colour and shape - short, grey slugs to long black slugs which reproduce in autumn and spring and are active all year round (unlike snails).

Slug eggs are round, white and found in dark damp spots: under leaf litter, stones and pots.


A whole host of preventative measures can be found in books and online from: broken eggshells, copper rings and grit to beer traps and nematodes.

Slug Pellets:

Sluxx is a ferric phosphate granule for killing slugs and snails. Ferric phosphate works by changing the slugs digestive system to stop it feeding, they subsequently become less mobile and die within 3-6 days

The granules are spread easily onto affected areas, with no dust and will work within 3-5 days after ingestion - because of this time lag the affected slugs will crawl away to die rather than litter the ground so judgement of when to use granules, or not, should be by level of plant damage rather than slug carcasses. Sluxx is supplied in a 20kg bag and is a much more environmentally friendly alternative to products containing Metaldehyde. It can be used near watercourses.

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