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Slugs - Damage to all plants. How to control, kill.

Slugs are probably responsible for most harm done to plant foliage in UK gardens. They are quite easily controlled, but there is a lot of controversy over the main means of control - Metaldehyde. We have no problems in suggesting this as a means of controlling slugs - see here.

There are many different types of slugs. They are all vegetarian, so partial to virtually any plant in your garden! Some slugs are happy to spend life above ground, chomping away at foliage and flowers, other slugs live most of the time below ground, making a meal out of roots and tubers - ie bulbs, potatoes, dahlias etc.

It is with the above-ground type that we normally see the damage. The slugs that live below ground are not normally noticed until the plant collapses, or until you harvest your spoilt potatoes etc.

Slugs attack a wide range of plants, but are probably associated with the rather delicate skeletons of Hosta leaves that are left behind after an attack by slugs. Lupins and Delphiniums are also at risk, as are many vegetable plants - lettuce in particular.

Picture show various types of slugs which are a problem in gardens

Basically, if the foliage is tender - ie new - then it is a meal for a slug.

Slugs are normally nocturnal creatures - not a consideration with the below ground types - and the damage caused is often not seen until the following morning - after a bit of a feast by a party of marauding slugs.

Slugs are normally happiest in damp cool conditions, and this is certainly the best environment in which to find and or destroy them.  During the day, they normally live beneath stones or other garden debris.

Environmentalists will have to choose between leaving heaps of debris about the garden for wildlife and putting up with the emerging slugs of an evening!


Slug pellets are the standard method of dealing with slugs. Used properly, they are considered harmless. We will not go into the arguments here - we have written and researched it elsewhere .
Do not use slug pellets by leaving little heaps as this is is counterproductive to the control of slugs! .

Metaldehyde - used in the normal blue slug pellets - is actually a repellent for slugs. However it is only present in slug pellets in small percentages - normally 3-6%. the rest of the pellet is made up of either yeast or bran or other 'carrier' which attracts the slug. Leave in heap and the Metaldehyde content is enough to turn the slug away! ALWAYS sprinkle sparingly if you really want to control slugs. There is less likelihood of any accidental eating by garden pets if this method is used. best used on a warm evening during dry weather conditions.

Methiocarb Slug pellets are also available as an alternative. However it breaks down in the soil over a longer period.


Slugs can be trapped - drowned even - by leaving out containers partially filled with beer! The slugs are partial to a pint, and drown themselves!

Another method for the less squeamish, is to attach a sharp nail to the end of a bamboo cane or stick and go slug hunting with torch and said weapon during damp evenings. The lawn is a great place to find slugs on a damp warm dewy evening. The resultant speared slug bodies can then be consigned to the compost heap - or somewhere - Yuk!

You can don a pair of plastic gloves, and go slug hunting amongst your flowers and vegetables and simply 'collect' slugs for disposal as you see fit!

A ring of grit, around prized perennials is also a bit of a barrier to rampaging slugs.

Safe Slug Pellets and Organic Options

DOFF Slug & Snail Killer

Doff Slug & Snail Killer is a ready-to-use bait to control Slugs and Snails. Ferric phosphate pellets can be applied around edible crops up to the day of harvest and provide long-lasting control in wet weather, up to 10 days.

Suitable for Organic Gardening and endorsed by OF&G Organic Farmers & Growers certification. Children and pets need not be excluded from treated areas.

SlugClear Ultra

SlugClear Ultra 685 g are a highly efficient bait that protects edible and decorative plants from slugs and snails in the garden or greenhouse. Lightly sprinkling SlugClear Ultra Pellets on bare soil around your plants will divert slugs and snails away from living plants so they eat a fatal dose of the active ingredient. Contains ferric phosphate. One application lasts up to 10 days outdoors. Use all year round.

Protect Slug Killer Pellets

Protect Garden Slug Killer effectively controls slugs in your garden. The formula is ideal for use when growing fruit and vegetables, and breaks down naturally into iron and phosphate to enrich the soil around the plants. This product is suitable for organic gardening and provides effective slug control in and around the garden. This 700G Tub has a unique easy dose system and will keep those pesky slugs away from all your edible crops.

Slug & Snail Control

Slug Gone natural pure organic wool pellets are manufactured from the fleece of sheep. Wool fibres have very fine scales with small barbs on the tip called cuticle cells. These cause wool fibres to felt and matt together. Wool fibres are very hygroscopic and this plus the sand and grit already in the compound and the potassium salts from the sweat glands of the sheep absorb some of the slime from the slug's foot to cause irritation, resulting in the slug finding easier feeding methods

Slug & Snail Traps

DIVCHI Beer Slug & Snail Traps Simple To Use No Pellets Safe Around Children And Pets | Vegetable Garden Safe Environmental Snail The most troubling is that pests always eat lots of seedling overnight during planting vegetable and flower, especially snail and limax. This DIVCHI Snail Traps can help you to attract the snails without using any pesticides. Only fill with beer into trap, It will attract them from a 1.5 meter radius and will trap up to 50 slugs and snails at a time. | For best results use more than one trap and deploy traps before planting out.

Sluggo Slug and Snail Killer Pellets

Organic effective slug control containing ferric phosphate which occurs naturally in the environment. Works by attracting slugs away from the plant. Once ingested, the slugs cease feeding immediately and disappear underground to die. No slimey secretion is left, and there is no need to collect and dispose of dead slugs. Combines reliable efficiency with protection of people, pets and the environment when used as directed. To use, scatter pellets evenly round the base of plants. Rain is not a problem - slugs prefer the pellets wet and the pellets will remain effective.


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