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Holes are chewed in soft, new growth, young stems are toppled, seedlings vanish overnight, and slime trails are left behind.

Find it on: seedlings, bedding plants, herbaceous perennials, root crops, strawberries
Time to act: all year round


Every garden has its fair share of slugs and the bad news is that they are around for most of the year. They're active mostly after dark, especially when it's damp. In hot dry weather they bury themselves to avoid dehydrating.


Holes are chewed in soft, new growth, young stems are toppled, seedlings vanish overnight, and slime trails are left behind.


Go out at night with a torch and collect slugs by hand. Set traps in the border, such as upturned grapefruit skins, the slugs will hide under them during the day making collection easy. Sink shallow cups of beer or milk in borders, setting them slightly above soil level - you don't want ground beetles falling in as they are a natural predator of slugs. Keep your garden tidy, slugs love to hide under plant debris. Wrap copper tape around the rims of vulnerable pot plants. From early spring to late-autumn, consider using a biological control, such as Nemaslug.


There's a wide range of brands, with those containing aluminium sulphate being less toxic to pets and wildlife than those with metaldehyde. In both cases, a light scattering usually does the trick. Bin the bodies in the morning.

Discuss this problem

Talkback: Slugs
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smokeyjack 24/11/2011 at 15:27

I put out saucers with bran dot them around the garden then at night rubber gloves on and go collecting they head towards the bran and its much easier to pick them up - then they go down the drain!!

Tea-Rose 24/11/2011 at 15:28

Hedgehogs and birds are also predators of slugs (I suppose the revolting things are useful for something!) I am torn between wanting to kill a slug as soon as I see it, and wanting the birds and hedgehogs to have it for their dinner. There's never a hungry hedgehog around when you want one!

osso 24/11/2011 at 15:28

i collect my slugs and snails and feed them to my chickens

Blueeyes 24/11/2011 at 15:28

I heard that growing french marigolds keeps slugs away so I gave it a go last summer and hey it worked !!! going too use it in my greenhouse again this year and they look pretty too slugs don't like the smell !!!

lesleypresley 24/11/2011 at 15:28

I have tried many ways to control slugs and snails. Used coffee grounds is the most successful. Just rinse out your coffee pot around the plant you want saved leaving the grounds close to the base.

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