Ask a Question forum: What to do about slugs and snails?

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Name: Leslie
Chapin, SC (Zone 7b)
"As for me and my house, we will se
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Lalambchop1
Sep 3, 2016 7:05 AM CST
I'm having slug and snail problems for the first time this year. They're on my hostas and daylilies. I have several large raised beds so buying the pre-made stuff you sprinkle around is too costly. Any suggestions?
Leslie

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15
Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
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Zencat
Sep 3, 2016 7:30 AM CST
I go out early and hand pick. You can catch the critters in the act and dispatch them.

I know there are other methods but that's the easiest for me.
Name: Lee-Roy
Bilzen, Belgium (Zone 8a)
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Arico
Sep 3, 2016 7:35 AM CST
I've found that a combination of different methods give the best result instead of just one. I've had succes with hand picking, scattering biological slug pellets and recently parasitic nematodes.


Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Sep 3, 2016 9:00 AM CST
I agree with hand picking but I would recommend using disposable gloves to pick up the slugs.
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Name: Leslie
Chapin, SC (Zone 7b)
"As for me and my house, we will se
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Keeps Sheep Daylilies Irises Hostas Hybridizer
Cat Lover Hummingbirder Birds Region: South Carolina Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Lalambchop1
Sep 3, 2016 11:03 AM CST
Thank you!
Leslie

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15
Skåne, Sweden (Zone 7b)
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William
Sep 3, 2016 2:26 PM CST
Of course it depends on the severity of the slug/snail infestation, but I agree with Lee-Roy that using several methods usually works best. If you have enough time or the garden is small, handpicking at night or in rainy weather indeed works really well. I have done it for years now, ever since we first got a problem with the invasive and aptly nicknamed killer slug. I also look under stones and similar regularly to find slugs and eggs during the day.

Beer traps is another option and works good for many types of slugs and can be effective to draw out those that are hard to spot, but like with slug pellets some slugs are so content with their current position that they simply stay where they are. This is especially true for smaller slugs or slugs that feed on the plants near or just bellow soil level as they have no reason to move whatsoever.

This is the first year for me using slug pellets as the situation was getting out of control this spring after two mild winters in a row and excessive rains. We had a ballooning slug population. Something had to be done so reluctantly I bought som slug pellets. I use an iron phosphate based one called Ferramol/Sluggo. These are in my opinion best used when placed protected in a box. This not only reduces the risk of other animals eating them with possible negative health effects for those animals, but it also significantly reduces the cost of bait as virtually nothing goes to waste. Here in Sweden they sell these (overpriced in my opinion) boxes: http://www.snigelshopen.se/snigelmedel/snigelbaren_grona_mat... . If you look at the pictures you can easily do your own from a suitable plastic box. The moisture in the night air should be sufficient to release the scent from the bait and lure the slugs. A stone on top works well to secure the lid and keep other animals out of the box for me, but you might need other methods if local wildlife or pets is very inquisitive. Slugs have a tendency to follow the slime trails of other slugs so you may find the effectiveness of these boxes to actually increase over time until you exhausted the local slug population. The problem with pellets in a box is the same as for pellets directly on the ground, sometimes the plants you try to protect are more desirable than the bait, so they will go after them instead or they simply refuse to abandon the protected spot they are already in.

If you have an open compost its a really good idea to place a few boxes there as well. The compost heap is a super effective place for handpicking as well.

Not a recommendation to use slug pellets, of course it's better if you don't need to, but if you decide that it becomes necessary, you are at least aware that there is a more environmentally friendly and cost effective way to use them. I haven't tried different brands of slug bait, but I suspect the method would work for many other brands as well.
[Last edited by William - Sep 3, 2016 2:28 PM (+)]
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Name: Leslie
Chapin, SC (Zone 7b)
"As for me and my house, we will se
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Keeps Sheep Daylilies Irises Hostas Hybridizer
Cat Lover Hummingbirder Birds Region: South Carolina Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Lalambchop1
Sep 3, 2016 4:43 PM CST
William, thank you for taking the time to really spell that out. I appreciate it! Smiling
Leslie

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15
Name: Barbalee
Amarillo, TX (Zone 7a)
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Barbalee
Sep 3, 2016 6:49 PM CST
Lots of good advice about slugs here. My problem is with snails! I never see them, but my dog goes hunting and finds 3 or 4 every day. I'm going to try beer traps tonight. Any other suggestions?
Name: Karen
NM , AZ (Zone 7b)
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plantmanager
Sep 3, 2016 6:52 PM CST
I used to have a big snail problem. I went out every night with a flashlight and a baggie and picked them off my plants and froze them. They then got tossed in the garbage. Picking them worked way better than beer traps.
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Name: Leslie
Chapin, SC (Zone 7b)
"As for me and my house, we will se
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Keeps Sheep Daylilies Irises Hostas Hybridizer
Cat Lover Hummingbirder Birds Region: South Carolina Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Lalambchop1
Sep 3, 2016 7:00 PM CST
I have a ton of little tiny ones about the size of the pink park of your little finger nail.
Leslie

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15
Name: Karen
NM , AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents Adeniums Garden Art
Plumerias Hibiscus Houseplants Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Dog Lover Cat Lover
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plantmanager
Sep 3, 2016 7:06 PM CST
You can still pick them, Leslie, but you'll have to look a lot closer. Mine were the huge african snails so they were easy to spot.
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