How to Get Rid of Slugs & Snails
What are Slugs and Snails?
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.
What to 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.
Pest Arrest is a great slug and snail repellent. This organic and natural solution is ideal for use on flowers, fruit, vegetables and amenity vegetation. Simply spray on the area you want to keep snail and slug free and the pests will be deterred from the area.
Sluxx is a ferric phosphate granule for killing slugs and 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 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.
Does salt kill slugs?
Yes, using salt on a slug will kill it by drawing out the moisture in the slug, causing it to die of dehydration. This is however detrimental to surrounding plants and garden soil.
Are slugs poisonous?
They are not harmful to humans or animals. However, they contain many toxins and parasites that can be harmful to pets if eaten.