Slugs & Snails Destroy Garden Plants But Are Hard To Kill. These Are The Only Foolproof Ways To Kill Slugs & Snails. Most Mollusc Control Methods Are Myths. But Here Are Proven Methods.

There must be more slug control methods than gardeners. And most of the methods, such as eggshells, WD40, brambles, copper etc don’t work. On another post I’ve even shown slugs crawling over the sharp edge of razor blades and scalpels. So what are the best solutions to remove, stop or kill slugs & snails without resorting to toxic chemical control (much of which is no longer legal)?

Nematodes: Natural Slug Control

Slugs and snails are parasitised by nematode species such as Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita (often shortened to ph but not to be confused with pH).

Slug. Thanks to pexels-leon-woods-106607.jpg
Thanks to pexels-leon-woods-106607.jpg

The great thing about nematodes is that they are nature’s way of dealing with slugs ands snails.They are totally organic, biological pest control at its best. And mankind has harvested their abilities and created a natural “molluscicide” to prevent crop damage to garden, horticultural and agricultural crops.

The nematodes come as a small pack under brand names such as Nemaslug. Mix it with water and spray or water onto the garden. Its that simple.

Nemaslug controls all common species of small to medium sized slugs (up to 8 cm or 2.5-3 inches). It comes in two convenient sizes to treat small gardens and larger gardens or allotments. 

An application of Nemaslug will deliver around 300,000 nematodes per square metre to the soil, giving at least six weeks control of slugs. That’s usually considered enough time for seedlings to get well established. the treatment can then be repeated to provide another six weeks of control.

Slugs treatment with Nemaslug isn’t instant. The slugs will stop feeding in around three days and die in about a week. But don’t expect to see loads of dead slugs as the majority of them will die underground. 

One thing to watch out for is the temperature when you treat the soil. It needs to be warm enough for the treatment to work. he nematodes can survive a light frost but it’s best if the soil temperature is at least 5C (40F). And applications to damp soil is preferred. So in dry periods water in the late afternoon and then apply the nematodes so they have time to work before the soil dries out.

Provided the soil and temperature conditions are right the nematodes are fairly foolproof. And if you combine their use with the other methods I’m going to describe, control will be even better.

The Tile & Plank Slug & Snail Control Method

Killing snails and slugs needs to start with finding them. And if you don’t use the nematodes to seek them out then this method works well. Slugs and snails need to keep moist so seek out places that are cool and damp. Under rotting logs or leaves are typical sites. So we need to create something similar. Lay an old house tile or plank on the soil and slugs will hide under it. Once they are there it’s then just a matter of “harvesting” them. Some people put them in a container and release them a good distance away. Others collect and destroy them by various means. I’ll leave you to decide what you wish to do.

What is sure is that slugs love to hide in these damp dark places. For the method to be successful you need to “harvest” them every day.

How to Kill Snails & Slugs With a Slug Pub

For some reason slugs and snails are attracted by beer. Or let me correct that statement they are attracted by beer or any other product that smells a bit yeasty. So a mix of flour, sugar, water and yeast works just as well …. except you can’t help finish the left over beer!

The way to attract the slugs and snails to the beer is to put it in a covered container with some access holes in the side. The slug crawls in, goes for the yeasty smell and drowns in the liquid. The cover keeps the rain out and slows down evaporation. The resultant mix of slug ridden liquid needs emptying every few days or it becomes smelly. I put mine in the compost bin. It soon disappears into the compost.

The containers I tend to use are recycled yoghurt pots or in the case of the image here, a plastic container that contained some sweets. The sweet container is a bit more rigid and should last for years,

I bury the containers about half their dept into the soil. making sure the access is an inch or more about soil level stops beetles and other beneficial insects falling in. Slugs are quite happy to climb the sides to access the hole … the smell seems to act like a slug magnet!

Slug & Snail Predators

When I was young wed always have a Song Thrush on our lawn, hinting for snails. And there would be a stone somewhere where they would smash the shell. Today song thrushes are much rarer, but we can still encourage slug and snail predators in to our gardens and allotments.

Slow Worm Predate Slugs
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.
Attribution: © Hans Hillewaert
Slow Worm Predate Slugs
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.
Attribution: © Hans Hillewaert

Slow worms, centipedes, ground beetles, frogs, toads, snakes and a few other predators delight in eating slugs and snails. So encourage them to live in your garden. A small pond will help to encourage them.

And if you’ve room for ducks or chicken, they will delight in finding slugs and snails. Give them free rein over empty beds so you start with a slug free soil.

There is of course a strong argument which says we shouldn’t kill slugs and snails. And I’m certainly against widespread use of toxic chemicals. But other than natural means I’m yet to be shown how our food can be protected without control methods. Barrier method such as copper don’t work and couldn’t be used on a field scale anyway!

Please comment below if you have proven control methods.

Tag: Kill Slugs & Snails

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Image thanks to  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

& pexels-leon-woods-106607.jpg

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