Facts About Slug Infestations On Your Yard:
Slug infestations are very common. They cause damage to your plants and lawn. You may have noticed that there are many different kinds of slugs in your yard. Some types of slugs are harmless while others can cause severe problems if they become established in your garden or even worse, inside your home!
Most people don’t realize that they can live for months without food before dying from starvation and dehydration. Other types of slugs are capable of causing death due to their venomous bite.
The following facts will give you some idea about the type of slugs that are present in your area:
There are over 200 species of slugs found worldwide. They range from small (such as the red imported firecracker) to large (like the brown house spider).
In the United States, most species of slugs are native to warm climates such as Florida and Texas. However, some species are introduced into new areas where they invade gardens and other habitats. For example, the brown house spider is commonly found in Southern California and Arizona. It causes serious damage when it enters homes through cracks in walls or floors.
Most garden pests come from animals such as rats or mice which then introduce them to your garden. It is important to keep your home, and garden free from their presence.
Slugs are nocturnal animals because they are prone to drying out in the hot sun. If you examine your garden at night, you will notice many small holes dug into the ground. These are left by slugs as they search for food. In some cases, large groups of slugs can strip a plant bare within a few hours.
The red slug or “firedracer” as it is sometimes known, can be especially damaging. While generally nocturnal in nature, they do move about during the day if it is a wet day. Since these slugs have no shells, they have a tendency to “explode” when they are exposed to extreme heat.
The giant African land snail can grow up to nearly eight inches long! They are also known as “robber crabs” due to their tendency to raid poultry farms for eggs. In some cases, they can completely wipe out entire chicken coops. Most of these snails are found in the Southern United States and also in South America.
The types of damage caused to gardens and lawns by slugs and snails:
Eating holes in leaves, flowers and various other parts of plants.
Eating ripe fruits on plants
Digging holes in the ground which destroy plant roots. In some cases, these holes allow more slugs and snails into your garden.
Eating the eggs and chicks of birds such as chickens.
Spreading disease and parasites such as yersinia to plants and humans. In some cases, slugs and snails can carry this bacteria in their mouth or intestine.
How to get rid of slugs in the garden:
There are various products available which can deter slugs and snails from your plants. Most of these products are in the form of a liquid which is either applied directly to the leaves or stems or else it comes in the form of a tape which is wrapped around the stem of a plant. Other types of slug and snail repellents include granules, gas powered pellets, or even a fabric barrier. In some cases, fencing off sections of your garden with chicken wire can help keep them out.
There are also certain types of plants which slugs and snails will find less appealing. These include:
Planting your garden in uneven levels can also deter slugs and snails from crawling over your plants. Setting out beer is another method which can be used to entice slugs and snails to go into the container and drown. You may also find that simply googling “slug control” will give you numerous other methods for getting rid of slugs and snails around the home.
EDIS: Slugs and Snails (University of California)
Great info on general slug and snail knowledge as well as control methods.
Organic Slug Control (EcoFix)
Lots of info on how to use Eco-friendly methods to control slugs in the garden.
Snail & Slug Control (Michigan State University)
Lots of good information on snail and slug control.
Slug Control (Purdue University)
Great resource for learning about slugs, as well as what to do about them.
How to Kill Slugs (How Stuff Works)
An article which explains various methods of killing slugs.
Slug Control: The Basics (eHow)
A good article on the basics of slug control.
The Organic Way To Get Rid of Slugs (This Old House)
A good article on using Eco-friendly methods to control slugs in your garden.
How to Kill Slugs (Dawn)
An article which explains some of the most common methods of killing slugs.
Additional online resources:
Organic Land Care: Slug & Snail Repellent
Lots of good information on how to control slugs and snails organically.
Slug Control: The Basics (eHow)
A good article on getting rid of slugs without using dangerous poisons.
Slug Control (Yahoo Answers)
Answers to frequently asked questions regarding slugs.
Organic Slug Control (EcoFix)
Lots of good information on how to control slugs without using dangerous chemicals.
There are many methods for getting rid of slugs and snails in the garden. Most of these involve the use of dangerous chemicals. These methods work well, but most of them have the potential to be dangerous to children and pets as well as being bad for the environment.
There are also various products which claim to repel slugs and snails, but many of these also contain dangerous chemicals. It is important to familiarize yourself with what you are applying to your yard and surrounding areas.
One of the best ways to keep slugs and snails out of your garden is by using clean organic methods for repelling them. Most of the time slugs and snails will be more attracted to your plants simply because they are closer to the ground when compared to natural vegetation. As a result, keeping your garden at or slightly above ground level will deter most slugs and snails.
There are also various natural repellents that can be used to keep slugs and snails out of your garden. One of the most popular involves placing copper mesh in areas you want to protect.
Slugs and snails do not like crawling across copper or other metals. As a result, this is one of the best methods for keeping them away from your garden.
There are many online guides and books that can be used to learn more about the different methods of keeping slugs and snails out of your garden.
If you need to kill the slugs or snails that are already in your garden there are various other ways you can go about it. Many people will use a simple bucket method where you fill a bucket with soapy water and then set it aside. The slugs and snails will crawl into the bucket to hide from sunlight and die there. You can then pour the contents of the bucket away from your garden.
You can also use traditional salt to kill the slugs and snails in your garden. Most types of slug and snail bait contain salt as well as other ingredients which make them more appealing to slugs and snails than what is around them. After they eat the bait they move more slowly or stop moving altogether. They will then die after several days.
Another good option for killing slugs and snails in your garden is to use a copper strip. Copper deters slugs and snails because they do not like crawling across the metal. As a result, you can place copper strips in your garden to keep them away. These strips are generally very affordable and easy to use.
There are also various types of traps you can use to catch slugs and snails. One of the most common is a simple glass jug trap. To make this trap you simply cut the top half off of a glass jar. You then place the bottom half upside down in the soil.
The opening of the jar will be near the ground and the opening should be pointed towards the sky. After doing this you add beer to the jar. The idea is that slugs and snails will crawl into the jar and drown in the beer while trying to get to the top.
You can also make a traditional snail and slug trap out of a can. To make one of these traps, you simply poke holes in the bottom portion of an old can (the top portion should be cut off). You then place the can upside down in the soil with the holes facing upward. Snails and slugs will crawl into the can and not be able to crawl back out.
You can simply collect the can at your leisure.
There are many other various methods for killing slugs and snails that involve poisons, electricity and other methods. These types of methods should be avoided because they can be dangerous to humans and animals that may ingest the dead bodies of slugs and snails.
Slug and snail traps should be placed all over the garden. If you have a problem with slugs destroying your flowers you can use slug and snail traps in that area as well since slugs and snails will be more attracted to these areas. You can also place slug and snail traps near plants that are known to be favorites of slugs and snails such as lettuce, hosta plants, scillas and azalea plants.
Here is a video that shows how to make the can trap:
Here are some videos showing different types of slug and snail traps:
Always be sure to thoroughly wash any surface that comes into contact with the poison. Snails and slugs can leave behind traces of the poison when they die which could harm children or pets if they eat the dead snail or slug.
If you prefer electronic traps you have quite a few different options. One option is the Victor Electronic PestChaser which can be purchased here:
The PestChaser uses both sound and light to repel pests which gives it a better chance of scaring away slugs and snails. This trap runs on 4 C batteries and is very easy to use. It will also help keep other pests such as rodents away.
Another option is the Stomp Stomper which uses high-frequency noise to repel slugs and snails. This device can be purchased here:
This electronic trap runs on 2 AA batteries and is also very easy to use. It is great for keeping slugs and snails away, but will not scare other pests such as rats or roaches.
There are many other electronic pest repellents available such as the ones listed below. Just be sure to read reviews before purchasing anything to make sure it will work for your needs.
There are also some natural ways to keep slugs and snails out of your garden. One way is to use copper tape. Copper tape is a type of landscaping tape that contains a thin layer of copper. It is generally inexpensive and can be purchased at most gardening centers or nurseries.
Another way to keep slugs away from your garden is to use natural predators. One of the best ways to do this involves introducing hedgehogs into your garden area. While hedgehogs may not actually eat the slugs and snails they will definitely destroy their shells which makes it difficult for the mollusks to survive.
You can also try to attract birds into your garden. Birds will gladly eat slugs and snails as a tasty treat! If you don’t have any birdhouses in your yard, now would be a good time to start. You can find out more information about this topic here: “Attracting Birds To Your Backyard”.
If you have a serious slug or snail problem and can’t seem to find any of the natural or electronic methods of control to be effective, there are two last resort solutions that you can try. One involves the use of salt and the other involves the use of beer.
For the beer method, you’ll need to get a shallow container and fill it about 1/3 of the way with beer. Place it in your garden and slugs and snails will be sure to be all over it. After the mollusks have been drinking for a while you can place them into a container of saltwater which will kill them instantly.
For the salt method you’ll need to mix 1 tbsp of salt in 1 gallon of water. Salt is deadly to slugs and snails, so this mixture should kill off any that come into contact with it. Be careful when using this method since the salt can also harm any plants that it comes in contact with.
If you are trying to get rid of snails and slugs in your house, you’ll need to clean really well to get rid of any left behind shells and carcasses since these can also cause problems if you’re allergic to them.
One way to get rid of snails and slugs in your house is to draw an “X” with chalk on any surfaces that they may be crawling on. Most likely they will crawl over the “X” and fall off into a place that is unreachable and unintended, thus getting rid of the problem. This is good for table edges, counter edges, etc.
Another way to get rid of snails and slugs in your house is to take a shallow container with both high edges (so the snail or slug can’t climb out) and low edges (so they can easily get in) and fill it 1/3 of the way with beer. Add a pinch of salt to the beer and place it somewhere in your house where you see signs of snail and slug activity. The snails and slugs will be attracted to the beer, but they won’t be able to climb out of the container.
Both of these methods should kill off any of the pests without having to kill them yourself. However, if you prefer you can always place the snails or slugs into a container with saltwater which will kill them instantly.
If you are able to, it is best to remove the dead bodies of snails and slugs from your house since these can cause allergic reactions for some people.
One of the most common pests that attack garden plants in North America is the common flower beetle. They are most easily recognizable by their copper coloring, hourglass figures on their backs and their tendency to fly away when disturbed.
Sources & references used in this article:
Sticky lives: slugs, detachment and more‐than‐human ethics in the garden by F Ginn – Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 2014 – Wiley Online Library
Predation by the Carabid Beetles Pterostichus melanarius and Poecilus cupreus on Slugs and Slug Eggs by F Oberholzer, T Frank – Biocontrol Science and Technology, 2003 – Taylor & Francis
The use of metaldehyde against slugs by AL Lovett, AB Black – 1920 – Oregon Agricultural College …
The effects of crop development upon slug distribution and control by Abax parallelepipedus (Coleoptera: Carabidae) by DC Thomas – Annals of Applied Biology, 1948 – Wiley Online Library
Invasive slugs as under-appreciated obstacles to rare plant restoration: evidence from the Hawaiian Islands by WOC Symondson – Annals of Applied Biology, 1993 – Wiley Online Library
Some observations on damage to potatoes by slugs by SM Joe, CC Daehler – Biological Invasions, 2008 – Springer