Rainy weather brings an outbreak of slugs, these disgusting pests that forage in the dusk and damage foliage of the plants. You don't need to be a biologist to identify them. Slugs leave trails of slime and look like snails as they are both mollusks, with the difference that the former do not have a shell. What is not easy is getting rid of them, though. That is why this guide will focus on TOP slug baits, poisons, and traps — the tools that really work, provided that you use the right products.
What is the best slug killer?
The most common slug baits are based either on Iron Phosphate or Metaldehyde. Glenn Fisher from Oregon State University says that both are the only effective chemicals that are licensed in the U.S.
- Iron Phosphate is a toxic metal that slowly kills the insect when digested. At first, the stuff affects the slug’s ability to move and then the insect dies in less than a week. Manufacturers say that products containing Iron Phosphate can be applied in the areas visited by pets and can be used in home gardens.
- Metaldehyde. Another widespread slug poison is Metaldehyde, an organic compound that dehydrates poor slugs. Generally, it is available in pellets and takes effect after it is consumed. The poison works by stimulating the insect to secrete too much mucus, so don’t be surprised to see thicker slime trails after applying Metaldehyde-based products.
However, such solution has a clear disadvantage — it isn’t efficient enough in a humid environment. The thing is that excessive moisture doesn’t allow these mollusks to dehydrate rapidly enough and the effect of the poison may end before the slug dies. The second essential downside to Metaldehyde is that it isn’t safe for pets, so make sure that they will not be able to reach it. The toxic pellets look like pet food and are very appealing to cats and dogs, so there is a risk that they can eat a deadly dose.
- Sodium Ferric EDTA. You may try products containing a relatively new active ingredient, Sodium Ferric EDTA. It has a quicker action but is less safe for pets than Iron Phosphate.
- Methiocarb. There are also products with Methiocarb as an active ingredient that are recommended for more humid and cold weather conditions. This is fast-acting but more dangerous stuff that can be used only several times a year. When a slug ingests the substance, it swells up and dies. Formulated as a wettable powder, Methiocarb-based solutions need to be diluted with water and sprayed directly on foliage. I should warn you, though, that the EU has banned these products because they pose a significant risk to birds.
In case you don't want to scatter poisons throughout your garden or backyard, try an alternative, milder approach. You may create cooper barriers that work as an electric fence against slugs. When their moist bodies come in contact with the cooper, they get an electric shock. This does not kill the mollusks but acts as a good repellent. Such a barrier should be established around trees, shrubbery, and flowerbeds. Apart from the cooper, diatomaceous earth and eggshells can be used as a safer but less efficient material for a barrier.
Another non-toxic method is to set traps which can be either homemade or purchased from a store. As for the former, there is a variety of options, such as grapefruit peel and rolled-up moist newspapers. All this attracts slugs, which gather beneath the trap perceiving it as a shelter.
Slugs are hilarious guys and are fond of beer. So you can make a slug trap with beer using a shallow canister, something that they just cannot resist. Such traps should be placed around the plants where they feed. Inspect the places where you set traps every morning, dropping the captured mollusks into a jar with soapy water.
TOP-5 Slug Baits, Poisons & Traps
Below, you will find TOP-5 products for killing and capturing these mollusks. Their prices range from $7 to $23, with the biggest bag having a net weight of as much as 4 pounds. Depending on your need and the level of infestation, you may choose a solution that has the fastest action, covers a larger area, has a long-lasting effect or is compatible with organic gardening. In this review, there is also a set of traps as a safe alternative to using chemicals.
1. Garden Safe 4536 Slug & Snail Bait | For Organic Gardening
Garden Safe is a well-known brand on the pest control market that includes products developed specifically for organic gardening. The same is applied to this slug bait that is OMRI-listed and intended for organic use as well.
You can safely place the baits around fruits, flowers, and vegetables, without worrying about any potential damage to the plants. With this insecticide, you can treat not only your lawn and garden but also a greenhouse. What I particularly like about this product is that it is safe not only for vegetation but also for pets. And from my experience, our four-legged friends do not show any interest in it.
Based on a unique formula containing Iron Phosphate, the solution kills the insects that have consumed the bait in six days or even faster. It is available in granules and should be sprinkled in small amounts on the soil. Focus on the areas where they have been most active as well as within the perimeter of your garden. The best time for application is at dusk before these insects begin to forage. For better results, repeat applications twice a month.
What do buyers say?
About 70% of customers have given it the highest rating, highlighting convenience in use as the major advantage. Another product’s strong point that buyers mention is a price-quality trade-off. Well, I think the fact that this solution saves your time and money is a good reason for purchasing it. By the way, buyers suggest spreading this stuff not only around plants but also in the cracks between the stairs and the path, in which they love to hide. One customer says that he keeps chickens that wander around the garden where the baits are scattered and they are pretty healthy.
Garden Safe 4536: Check the current price
2. Monterey LG6515 Sluggo Slug & Snail Killer | Fast-Acting Bait
This option is much more popular and has more positive reviews than the previous one. Like Garden Safe baits, it is based on Iron Phosphate and is OMRI-listed. You can safely use the stuff around pets and valuable plants as well as in organic gardening.
What separates this product from the above-mentioned one is its fast action. If you distribute the pellets properly, all slugs will disappear in a day! Remember, it is very important to cover the areas where their shelters are located. And even better, you will need to sprinkle just some pellets to make them work, which means that the product is cost-efficient and a good investment for a gardener. Do not forget to re-apply the stuff every 2 weeks until you don’t see an eaten leaf anymore.
What do buyers say?
I don’t recall the last time I have read so many rave reviews! They can be summarized into one sentence, “All slugs are gone after I started using this bait.” This is also true for those who had severe infestations and complained about “these slimy beasts” ruining their garden. Some buyers claim that have seen dried slugs around the house in a few days after application. Many customers make repeat purchases, something that says volumes about the product’s efficiency.
Monterey: Check the current price
3. Ortho Bug-Geta Snail And Slug Killer | Long-Lasting Slug Bait
If you are not fond of bothering with making frequent applications, this product is definitely for you! With the effect lasting for 3 weeks, Ortho baits are among the most durable ones and will keep on working even after rain or lawn irrigation. The product comes in a six-pound pack, which makes it a good choice for large properties.
With Sulfur acting as an active ingredient, the solution is available in pallets that should be spread around ornamentals, vegetables, fruits, and shrubs. The manufacturer recommends placing them on the moist soil but not in the stagnant water. Another valuable piece of advice is to scatter the pellets evenly rather than pile them up in one place.
What do buys say?
Customers say that the stuff works great, however, it isn’t as highly rated as the previous two items. One gardener says that he had a snail boom after rains but when he started using Ortho, these guys just disappeared the next day after application. He also suggested creating a barrier from these pellets to kill a large number of snails. But keep in mind that once it rains again, new snails will pop up as if nothing has happened.
Ortho: Check the current price
4. Safer Brand SB125 Slug & Snail Killer | Snail Bait For Large Areas
This solution is based on Sodium Ferric EDTA, Lately, an active ingredient that works faster than Iron Phosphate but is more toxic to dogs. That said, this chemical compound works the same way as Iron Phosphate but should be applied in smaller amounts. It works by dehydrating mollusks and needs to be digested by them. This active ingredient is relatively new but I think we can trust the producer, Safer Brand, which has been operating on the market for more than 30 years and has a broad range of pest control products that are successfully sold around the world.
The main advantage of this product is coverage as one 2-pound bag will be enough to treat over 3,000 sq ft. The bait can be safely placed near edibles, such as fruits, vegetables, and greens. Like the above-mentioned products, this one comes in the form of pellets. They are waterproof and remain effective even under unfavorable weather conditions.
What do buyers say?
While being effective, this stuff is not safe enough and can be poisonous to people and pets as well, one buyer points out. To avoid this, don’t pile the pellets up but rather spread them thinly. Another customer says that the solution works immediately, with no or very little slug damage seen after application.
Safer Brand SB125: Check the current price
5. Beslands 5 Pcs Snail Trap | Eco-Friendly Snails Catcher
For some people, it may be a challenging task to make a trap that will really capture these mollusks. This set of 5 snail traps will cost you some $20, but for the price, you will get quality plastic traps measuring 2 x 2 x 3.9 inches. They are green and have a nice design that will wonderfully fit into the garden landscape. I believe that it is a great option for those who don’t want to apply chemicals to the plants and soil.
The trap is easy to set. First, you should detect sites where snails are most active and where they hide during the day. Then, dig a pit so that it could fit the trap — about 2.5 inches deep. You will need a bait to attracts mollusks and this is where the good old beer will come in handy. Just pour half of the bottle in it and close the lid. Keep in mind that the more traps you set throughout the garden the better the result will be. Also, make sure that they are spaced about 3 feet from one another.
What do buyers say?
Well, some customers say that this thing is pretty useful while others claim that they do not work. Most of the buyers agree that beer is the best lure for nasty mollusks, however, they are divided on whether to use regular or light beer. One of the advantages the buyers mention is that the trap is easy to conceal in the garden in order not to spoil the view.
Beslands: Check the current price