Fighting slugs - what to do against slugs?
From young vegetables to fresh shoots of plants to complete flowering shrubs - slugs and snails find an almost endless amount of food in our gardens.
It is therefore hardly surprising that they are without doubt one of the most annoying pests of all and probably every garden owner wonders how best to combat slugs.
In the following, we explain what you can do against slugs. With our tips you can fight slugs without having to use chemicals, which unnecessarily harm not only pests but also beneficial organisms in your garden.
Why slugs should not be controlled with chemicals
In view of the great damage slugs and snails can cause in the garden, the idea of simply using chemicals to combat the pests is naturally obvious.
There is a wide range of products available in the shops. Slug pellets in particular are very popular for combating slugs. It is very easy to apply and works quickly and reliably.
Nevertheless, you should consider the use of chemical products against slugs and snails. After all, slugs that have eaten slug pellets pose a considerable danger to birds and hedgehogs.
Apart from that, some species, such as Roman snails, can also prove to be quite useful. They eat dead leaves and sometimes even the eggs of slugs. By using products such as slug pellets, you therefore also control slugs and snails, which have a certain benefit for your garden.
Slug pellets also pose a danger to humans
Be aware that slug pellets and other slug control chemicals pose a serious risk not only to beneficial animals, but also to pets and humans.
Especially if you have children or a dog or cat, you should not underestimate the risk posed by slug pellets. The ingestion of slug pellets can sometimes be fatal for children and pets.
Symptoms of poisoning include severe salivation, vomiting and diarrhoea, fever, irritation of the mucous membranes of the mouth and eyes, as well as coordination disorders and muscle cramps. If symptoms occur, you should immediately call an emergency doctor or consult a veterinarian.
Ideally, however, you should not let it get that far and refrain from fighting snails with poison. As you will soon find out, the natural alternatives that we will present to you in the following are just as suitable without any unnecessary risks for your offspring or your four-legged friend.
Natural alternatives for slug control
As you can see, chemical means for slug control are only recommended to a limited extent. Instead, we advise you to counteract the pests in your garden in a natural way.
For example, use a snail fence, snail traps or snail tongs, with which you can easily remove the snails by hand. You will soon discover that these methods of slug control are extremely effective and that the unwanted pests can be reliably eliminated with our tips.
Control slugs with a slug fence
If you want to control slugs in your garden with a mechanical barrier in a biologically harmless way, a slug fence proves to be particularly effective in practice.
Snail fences, such as you can find in our shop, are an insurmountable obstacle for snails due to their double outward curved top edge. Provided they are set up correctly, they offer your plants reliable protection.
The following points are important when controlling slugs with a slug fence:
- The slug fence should be erected in good time in spring.
- A fence height of around 15 centimetres is required to repel slugs.
- For a stable stand, the fence should be anchored about ten centimetres deep in the ground.
- The slug fence must completely enclose the bed to be protected.
- Contact with adjacent plants must be avoided, as these can otherwise be used by slugs to help them climb.
To support the effect of the slug fence, we recommend digging up the soil in late autumn and early spring. In this way you will expose slug eggs in the soil, which will be eliminated by frost, sun and predators.
Apart from this, it is advisable to check the slug fence regularly. You can also save yourself some work and improve the protection of your beds even more with an additional panel edging.
Control slugs with slug traps
Snail traps are another way to control snails. At the very least, they can be a useful support for installing a snail fence.
A snail trap is a container filled with water containing a bait whose smell attracts snails. If the pests crawl into the trap, they drown.
The slug trap can then be easily emptied, refilled and set up again. For effective slug control with this method, it is best to place several slug traps in your garden. However, bear in mind that the smell of the bait can sometimes attract slugs from neighbours' gardens. For this reason, it is advisable to always use snail traps in combination with a snail fence.
Fighting slugs with slug tongs
The best way to combat remaining snails inside the snail fence is to collect them one by one with snail tongs.
The easiest way to do this is to visit your garden when it is dark and the weather is damp. Of course, you can also collect the snails by hand. However, with slug tongs you save yourself having to touch the slimy pests, especially in the case of slugs.
Apart from that, the special shape of a snail pincer allows you to grab snails without damaging plants. Even slug eggs can be picked up and removed very easily with the help of such tongs.
Furthermore, slug tongs are not only suitable for combating slugs. If necessary, they can also be used to collect caterpillars and other pests. With slug tongs you can effectively control slugs and other unwelcome guests without the use of chemicals.
To get rid of the collected pests, we recommend that you pour boiling water over them. This will kill them quickly and largely painlessly. Sprinkling with salt, on the other hand, results in a long and agonising death of the slugs and should therefore not be done.
Irrespective of this, it is also not advisable when controlling slugs to simply carry away the collected pests and abandon them in another place. There they can multiply undisturbed. Moreover, snails can sometimes travel very long distances. It is therefore only a matter of time before the pests populate your garden again.
Combating slugs - our conclusion
As you can see, there are various options available to you for controlling slugs. The methods we have mentioned have the great advantage that they do not use any chemicals against slugs.
This way you avoid harming other animals in your garden or even endangering people unnecessarily. At the same time, you can still be sure that you can effectively control existing slugs and reliably prevent a pest infestation of your planting.
In this context, however, keep in mind that the earlier you start combating slugs in your garden, the easier it will be. Therefore, do not wait until your beds are populated by a large number of the pests, but best fight slugs as soon as you discover the first traces of slime.