What Do Slugs Eat In The Garden? [15] Ways To Get Rid Of Them

Slugs through many experiences have been considered as one of the most dangerous garden plant destroyers. I think the best question to ask is what are the things slugs cannot eat instead of asking what do slugs eat?

Because with the right environment and conditions, they can eat virtually any kind of plant and vegetation.

Below is enumerated some of the known facts about slugs, and how you can eliminate them from your garden.

Why Is My Garden Full Of Slugs?

Slug is the general name given apparently to all shell-less terrestrial gastropods. Slugs are mostly found on mulch, wet soils, and densely packed garden plants. They lay their eggs in these wet soils and compost. 

Slugs do not possess shells that will protect them from sunlight, the garden which is always moist and cool due to regular watering of plants.

Serves as the perfect location for the slugs to thrive, and there is an abundance of slug foods ( vegetables, fruits, and crops) in the garden. 

The garden also contains mulches, plant pots, which serves as a good place for the slugs to hide from rays of sunlight.

They are mostly seen in the garden during the rainy season, all these factors are what attract slugs to your garden and give the reasons why your garden is often full of slugs.

Also read below tips to control common gardening bugs.

Are Slugs Good For Your Garden?

What Do Slugs Eat
What Do Slugs Eat

Outside of the garden, slugs are considered beneficial as they help in many biological processes like decomposition and recycling of organic materials, helping to improve the soil composition, and also, they serve as food for some animals. 

Inside the garden slugs are very harmful and they need to be controlled or eradicated as they destroy plants by eating their leaves and other structures.  Therefore the answer to the question “ are slugs good for your garden?” is NO.

Where Do Slugs Live?

They are soft-bodied animals that can grow up to the length of 25 to 100 mm depending on their species.

They differ from snails as they do not possess shells, the absence of this shell serves as the main factor that dictates where these animals can be found or where they can live.

  • Moist plant waste, under rocks, low grass, compost, and fallen trees all provide slugs with hiding spots or shelter.
  • As they are negatively affected by warm temperatures and the lack of body moisture.
  • Moisture is a key element for slugs’ survival. If a food source is close, moist spots are particularly desirable.
  • Slug diet includes leaves of plants, flowers, and fruits, especially those found on the ground.

What Do Slugs Eat?

What is slugs Favorite Food? These slugs aren’t picky. From decaying plants to animal carcasses, they creep around the ground chomping down everything digestible.

Tender young plants, chunks of garbage, fungus, and all kinds of decaying matter can be consumed in the garden,  your paper or cardboard are also not safe from these animals. 

In nature, slugs play a vital role, by breaking down rotting matter and recycling it back into the soil.

15 Best Ways To Eradicate Slugs From The Garden? 

What Do Slugs Eat
What Do Slugs Eat

I have always been a lover of slugs and snails due to their cool looks and cute storybook characters. But that cute look comes with a ravenous mouth that eats through leaves and fruit, spoiling them for us.

Below is enumerated some best practice to apply on how to get rid of slugs in your garden.

#1 Use of Natural Predators

Since introducing an invasive animal species can be dangerous, we should be careful when introducing new species of animals into a new ecosystem unless they can thrive naturally and remain in the place anyway.

With that being taken care of, you can introduce native slug eaters into your garden, to control slug infestations.

Examples of animals to use include Ducks, Newts, Chickens, Hedgehogs, Salamanders, and many others.

This method is considered the best slug pest control method as the process will continue naturally without you adding extra effort to it.

#2 Catch And Release Method

You might be the type that doesn’t like hurting animals, This method best suits you.

Slugs like cool, damp, dark hiding spots, you can create one using wet woods and you place it near slugs hotspots.

After the slugs finish devouring your plants all through the night they will go there to rest. 

 In the morning you can go to the place and lift the wood up, you will find the slugs there and you can release them into the wild.

#3 Using Beer Traps

Another slug eradication method you can apply to get rid of slugs is using beer traps.

Although this can be a cruel method because this will cause the death of the slugs, it is a fast and sure way to get rid of slugs in lawns and gardens.

Make a hole and bury a can of beer in it so the rim of the can level with the floor or ground.

Pour a little quantity of beer into it. Beer is a potent slug poison, as they (slugs) will dive into it and in the process die due to the beer toxicity.

Ensure to use beers that are not stale yet because slugs like them.

#4 Use Grapefruits Halves

After you eat your grapefruits, you can place the empty halves peels on the garden floor, with the open side facing down.

Slugs can crawl under the halve peels using it as shelter and in the process, they get trapped underneath.

When you check back in the morning you will find them trapped under the peels, then you can do them as you want.

#5 Employ Ouchie Eggshells

Slugs get hurt when they glide over the edges of the broken eggshells. By scattering this on your garden floor, it will help drive the slugs away from your farm. The ouchie eggshells later decompose and enrich your garden soil.

#6 Using Some Plants As A Natural Pesticide

While wondering about how you can permanently get rid of slugs from your house, a better way you can achieve this is by planting some plants which will act as a natural pesticide to these slugs.

An example of a plant you can use is Astriana, the plant produces a unique smell that repels slugs. 

Other plants can also serve this purpose, examples are Rosemary, Wormwood, and so many others.

#7 Use Copper Tapes

Copper is very reactive with slug slime, the copper produces tiny electric shocks anytime the slugs come in contact with it.

Lay down some copper tapes on the garden floor or raised beds. This will chase the slugs away because they don’t want to get hurt by coming in contact with the copper tapes.

#8 Use strands of hair

When coming from work, you can branch a salon or barbershop to get some hair strands.

Surround your plants with the hair layers to form a protective barrier. The slugs will get wound up and tangled in the hair as they try to reach the plants.  In the process, they will get strangulated which in turn will lead to their death.

#9 Create a slippery surface

By making the outer surface of plant pots slippery, the slugs will not be able to climb up because of the slippery surface. This slug control method is a sure way of protecting your plants from being devoured by slugs.

#10 Salts

You can make a torchlit walk into your garden at night time when the slugs will be fully outside and active. Sprinkle some salts on them anywhere you see them, that will definitely kill and eradicate them.

Be wary not to pour excess salts because your plants are also affected by salts.

#11 Plant slug attracting and repelling plants side by side

To protect your plants and at the same time control slugs infestations. Systematically plant complimentary plants side by side. You can place slug repelling plants near your favorite plants and this can drive them away.

You can also plant sacrificial plants near your favorite plants and the slugs will be distracted from eating your favorite plants

#12 Create an inhospitable environment in your garden

By raking your garden frequently, removing all debris, fallen leaves, logs of wood. By doing so, you are removing their shelter, With the absence of shelter, they will be forced to find another location to infest.

#13 Pour sands around

Just like humans, imagine how you feel when your feet get stuck in the sand, now compare to how slugs will feel with their whole body immersed inside the sand and the tiny sand shards scratching their body.

This method will not only help eradicate slug but also help maintain the moisture content of your garden soil.

#14 Use coffee grounds

Unlike we human beings, slugs hate the smell of ground coffee due to the caffeine present in the coffee. One sure method that helps you control slug infestation is by pouring ground coffees around your plant.

Once they come near the plant, the coffee smell will drive them away.

#15 Use sealants to block their entry route

The best way to control the slugs is by blocking their way into your surrounding, once they are not able to enter your surroundings, your surrounding will be free from their infestations.

You may also like to read below articles.

How To Eradicate Slugs In The House

Having slugs in the house can drive you mad. Their slime trails across the floor, walls, and cabinets.

Stepping on the sticky slimes is an awful thing to experience. Most people always wonder how do slugs get into my house?. With their small slimy body, they can slip through any holes.

Some use way to get rid of them are listed below

  1. Seal gaps found in your house walls, cabinets, and floor.
  2. Slugs hate salt, so pouring some on the floor when you are about to sleep will surely help to keep them out.
  3. Sprinkling dry diatomaceous earth across the floor.

What Do Slugs Hate?

Here are some fun facts about slugs, based on what they hate and these things you can keep in your home to prevent slugs infestations.

There are some specific plants that slugs hate, an example is the strong scent of mint, garlic, and fennel.

  1. Coffee
  2. Nutshells
  3. Petroleum jellies
  4. They also hate the smell of beer

Can Vinegar Control Slug?

Through a series of researches carried out by various scientists, it was discovered that vinegar is a great or extreme mollusk dissolver. Slugs are a prominent example of a mollusk.

So a sure way of controlling slugs is by spraying them with vinegar or sprinkling it on the floor, the scent will keep them at bay

Do Coffee Grounds Repels Slugs

Here is a slug fact for kids, “ You can kill a slug with a cup of coffee”.  Humans have now discovered a new way of getting rid of or controlling slugs, this is by using double espresso (coffee). The method is becoming widely accepted as it does not have any harmful effect on the environment or ecosystem.

Caffeine found inside coffee has a great adverse effect on slugs. Therefore a coffee ground is a sure way to achieve slug eradication. Once they come in contact with coffees poured on the ground, they turn back immediately.

How Long Do slugs Live?

They are hermaphrodites, indicating that each animal posses both male and female reproductive or sex organs. They can mate with each other and fertilize each other’s eggs when two of these animals (slugs) meet.  

Both can then lay eggs in a sheltered location with sufficient moisture a few days later. A new generation of slugs will emerge from there. Slugs can live up to 5 years, depending on their species.

What Animals Eat Slugs?

So far we have seen What Do Slugs Eat? There is some belief that slugs have a bitter taste when eaten so animals will not eat them.

That is not true, there exist natural predators for slugs, but these predators are scarce. The scarcity of these predators somehow led to the overpopulation of slugs nowadays.

 Some of the predators are listed below

  1. Ground beetles
  2. Hedgehog
  3. Toad
  4. Centipedes
  5. Horn Flies
  6. Lizard
  7. Snakes
  8. Shrews
  9. Newts
  10. Opossums and many other more

What Do Snails Eat?

We have seen in the above sections on What Do Slugs Eat? The majority of terrestrial snails are herbivorous, but some are omnivorous, detritivores and some are also carnivorous.

Based on factors like size, age, environment, and individual nutrient needs, each species has unique fee habits. 

  • They are easily seen around yards in the house as they are likely to easily see plenty of fresh plants and leaves to feed on.
  • The detritivores feed on any dead organic matter, debris, and solid organic materials found inside the soil.
  • A large range of live plant components such as leaves, roots, plant crops, and fruits, are devoured by the herbivorous snails.   
  • Many eat fungi and mushrooms, and some may also eat algae occasionally, although these are essential foods for freshwater snails.
  • There are many types of small animals eaten by carnivorous snails; this is common to the snail species of the genus Powelliphanta.
  • Living in New Zealand They feed, among other gastropod mollusks, which include slugs, earthworms, and many other terrestrial animals.
  • On the other hand, as in the case of the omnivores, they feed on both plants and animals. Basically, these snails prefer eating other terrestrial animals, because they are predators naturally.
  • The species Rumina decollate, for instance, can eat other conch species, slugs, worm-like annelids, and, to a lesser degree, plants.

Conclusion

Slugs are not the ideal animals to have around in your home and gardens, as they will cause a lot of disruptions.

Now you know what do slugs eat? Follow the tips enumerated above and get rid of those slimy creatures from your environment. 

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