Safe & Successful Slug Control

Posted on: 12 June 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

There's an organic slug control method for every gardener, whether you want to live and let live or kill the pests.

Whether you want to protect the environment, use healthy products on plants you're growing to eat, or ensure that everywhere in your garden is safe for children, pets and wildlife, there's no need to reach for the blue pellets to control slugs.

There are many organic solutions, that don't involve the collection of used coffee grounds or hair clippings - although it's worth trying these if you want to. Here's our pick of novel ways to keep slugs and snails off your plot.

Nematodes - Biological Pest Control

NemaslugNematodes are microscopic worms, which enter the slug through natural body openings or by penetrating the insect skin, and release bacteria that stops the slug from feeding, quickly killing the slug. The nematodes reproduce inside the dead slug and release a new generation of hungry Phasmorhabditis hermaphrodita, which disperse to hunt down further prey. They kill slugs and nothing else.

Dilute the powder with water and apply in a watering can or hose end feeder, outdoors, in greenhouses or in pots. One application gives six weeks control. Slugs are best targeted during the months March to October or when soil temperature's above 5°C. The photo above shows a slug infected with Nemaslug.

Organic Slug Pellets

Advanced Slug KillerGrowing Success' Advanced Slug Killer has been approved for use in organic gardening by Organic Farmers & Growers Ltd, a first for domestic slug control. Organic Farmers & Growers Ltd (OF&G) is one of a number of certification bodies approved to inspect organic production and processing in the UK.

It will only kill slugs and snails. It is based on ferrous or iron phosphate - which is an organic compound - plus a bait, thus making it attractive to slugs and snails. The slugs and snails are attracted to the bait, ingest the pellets and then crawl away to die, leaving no dead slugs or snails around and no unsightly slime. Any bait not eaten breaks down rapidly to iron and phosphate nutrients as part of garden soil. It also remains effective after rain and watering.

Slug Buggers

Slug BuggersKindtoo's Slug Buggers are woollen slug pellets that offer a natural yet effective way of deterring pesky slugs. They are made using reclaimed material from the wool processing industry. Pellets are then produced by extruding the material through a dye. No other materials or chemicals are added, making the pellets 100 per cent natural.

The slugs are physically deterred rather than being killed. Once wet, the pellets form a rough wooly carpet with small needle-like fibres which slugs refuse to cross. The slugs hate crawling over them as the wool irritates and dehydrates them so they stay well away. The pellets are also a rich source of nitrogen, gradually bio-degrade and fertilise garden plants, and act as a weed suppressant.

Slug & Snail Shocka

Slug & Snail Shocka! does not kill slugs but creates a barrier. It's a fabric that has been impregnated on one side with a special formulation, containing copper. When slugs and snails attempt to move onto it they feel discomfort, similar to silver/tin foil on amalgam fillings in the mouth. Slugs normally move away, some may go onto Shocka! but remain still to try and prevent further discomfort.

You can cut out a mat to make a barrier under pots, create a collar to fit around individual plants, or use in long lengths in and around rows of plants, cutting planting stars into the fabric. It can be re-used as it will last for more than one season.

Web Links

Nemaslug & nematodes:,

Biological pest control:

Advanced Slug Killer:

Slug Buggers: 

Slug & Snail Shocka:

Do you know a foolproof slug-busting technique? You can share it in the 50connect forum.

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