Safely Eliminate Garden Slugs and Snails

 Garden Slugs and Snails Cartoon with Eyes Bugging Out

Yes- We Garden Slugs and Snails are Slow, But We Know How To Eat!

Issues with Garden Slugs and Snails?

Below are listed some Green Ways to safely eliminate garden slugs and snails. Slugs and Snails can be troublesome and cause permanent damage in vegetable and flower gardens. Trying to rid the garden of these pests can be a bit tricky, but it can be done without using harsh chemicals and pesticides.

Should I get Physical?

Physically gathering garden slugs and snails and keeping them out, can certainly be a first step. These gastropods tend to come out several hours after sunset, and retreat to their leafy hideouts at sunrise. You can grab them with a pair of gloves, and a flashlight (red flashlights make it easier for you to see at night). The creatures should be crushed or drown in a pail of soapy water.  Your gathering efforts  should follow a regular schedule  if  you are to succeed at all in reducing their numbers.

Do Copper Barriers work to Fence them Out?

To prevent their access to a specific area such as a fences, garden borders, or flower pots you can use a Copper Barrier to enclose or fence off the specific area. Slugs and snails do not like the chemical reaction between their bodies and the copper material. You can use Slug and Snail Copper Barrier Tape for this purpose. This is a great way to Safely Eliminate Garden Slugs and Snails.

Barrier Method Uses Sand or Grit

Another barrier method  you can use, is utilizing common sand to form a circular barrier around your plants. The slugs and snails will tend to avoid crossing this glassy (sand is basically glass) gritty barrier.  You should spread the sand about 1/4 ” high all the way around your  plant with a trowel.

How about Some Old Fashioned Poison Bait?

Iron Phosphate, a low toxic chemical can be found in certain bait products and it works well. Products containing it such as Sluggo, Escar-Go and other similar products can be used effectively. Please read and follow directions on the label.  You should observe that the  snails and slugs seem to disappear into the foliage in several days time. Iron phosphate products are safer for children and pets than another type of Bait which contain Methiocarb or Metaldehyde. Methiocarb based products can poise a danger to useful insects and earthworms. Metaldehyde based products are commonly used, but can poise a danger to pets and quite often dogs. If you use this product, look for low-dose options and follow label directions.  (This technique does not equal one of the Green Ways to Safely Eliminate Garden Slugs and Snails)

To Safely Eliminate Garden Slugs and Snails, Should I Use German or Domestic Beer?

Slug Climbs up the Stem of a Plant in the Garden

Oops! You Can Surely See Me Now – I should have waited until it got dark!

Well it really does not matter at all.  A shallow pan, such as a pie pan, or other low container can be filled with beer or yeast which will attract garden slugs and snails. They will often crawl into the container, and expire in the suds. You should be sure to keep  the container about 1/2 inch above the ground, so that helpful insects will not be able to get into it.

What other Mitigating Steps can I take?

Moisture will attract Garden Slugs and Snails into your garden areas  or plant containers at night. If possible, water in the early morning so that the watered areas can dry during the day. Using drip type systems will lower moisture retention in the soil as well. A simple water timer can be used to eliminate excess watering.  Excess mulching can also pose problem,  as it will continue to attract these pests as well. Using less moisture will assist to safely eliminate garden slugs and snails.

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