Slug invasion

Despite a very dry start to the year where I had difficulty getting seeds to germinate, or plants to establish ( we don't have piped water on the allotments, and the captured water ran out very early), the end of the year has seen a massive slug invasion. I have lost a lot of potatoes to them, and my over wintering greens are being eaten alive.

I know one cure would be a good cold spell but has anyone else suffered, and what have they done to overcome slugs in epedemic proportions?


  • Hello Campbell,

    As you say, both the warmth and the recent rain will have helped the slugs thrive. Have a look at our advice on dealing with slugs below:

    If you're still looking for solutions after that, type 'slugs' into the search box and you'll find plenty of information about how others have dealt with infestations. Pippa Greenwood, who is an expert on garden pests, has written quite a few blogs about these pesky beasts.

    Emma. team

  • I've tried most of the ways suggested in both the link suggested and by Pippa in her blog. 

    I have successfully reduced the slug abd snail population of my small house garden, mainly by early evening hunting with my 'snail scissors', but that wouldn't work on my allotment as it has to be done frequently. 

    I've considered nematodes but have baulked at the cost of treating my plots. I have resorted to usuing slug pellets, which I apply under the nets to keep birds of fruit and brassicas. 

    However the slugs that are doing the most damamge and are at epedemic proportions are the tiny black/brown slugs which don't seem to be attracted by the pellets (or I can't find their dead bodies).

    It's frustrating, and means that veg needs to be very scruporously cleaned, but hasn't put me off yet! I'm actually praying for a week of good cold weather!

  • Hello Campbell,

    I'm glad you're soldiering on! I agree that a spell of good cold weather is a great thing for many reasons in our gardens.

    Emma. team

  • I put down some beer traps and was amazed at how many of the small slug were caught and died. In one small trao no bigger than a jam jar in width, I had about twenty. It needs to be emptiedon a  regular basic or the stench gets unbearable.


  • I also go on a 'slug hunt' in the evenings and early morning. Planting garlic helps

    a bit because they don't like the smell.

  • i also put down slug traps which i empty every day otherwise ths smell is awful also much to the amusement of my hubby i go on slug patrole armed with a jar with salt water an a old pair of tongs to pick up any others not in slug trap 

  • It is a never ending job, I just leave them for the hedgehogs.

  • I would love to entice a hedgehog into my garden.  I haven't seen one for years.

  • Egg shells and sharp sand or grit around the base of the plants for organic control - has to be re-applied frequently for any lasting success.

  • The trouble with many of the chemical free methods of slug attack is that they are not suitable for a large space like an allotment. I have got on top of them at home and can now grow slug delicacies such as delphiniums and lupins, but it is a different matter on my allotment.

    Part of the problem is that there is plenty of wildlife there (pheasants, partridges, ans pigeons) many of which want to eat my plants as well. I'm sure the anti-bird netting I use also keeps birds that might eat the slugs away from the plants.

  • I used to get herds of slugs in my 100ft garden, which I would collect on damp evenings  ,around 50 on average, after using nematodes for a season its about half a dozen, I appreciate they are not cheap, but they definitely work.

  • Oh slugs! my nemesis, the one thing they do for me, is an excuse to slug hunt, along with a torch and bucket, what a way to spend a wonderful hour or so picking over the leaves,taking in what is or not a good bit of planting,also condition of plants. One product i have used is a liquid called Slugclear not bad .
  • If you collect slugs in a high sided container, with small wild bird seed in the bottom.  Roll the slugs in the bird seed, then when you have a few, pop them on the bird table.  Spread some bird seed on the table first, this stops escapiees! 

  • I also use beer traps with great success and go out at least a couple of times in the evenings to catch and dispose of slugs and snails. Last year I also put whole cabbage leaves around my young plants and found that the slugs and snails prefered the cabbage leaves; I also found some of them hiding under the leaves in the mornings.

    Many years ago during the early evening I was crawling up my garden path on my hands and knees looking under low growing plants to find slugs and snails when I was suddenly aware of someone watching me. My neighbour was watching me from his bedroom window with a really puzzled look on his face. I bet he thought I had gone completely mad!

  • I hope all the slug haters have read James' latest blog:

    in which he talks about all gardens having bad slug problems except Hever Castle!

    I'd like to add to that. I've worked in other large public gardens that didn't have bad slug problems. I concluded that the whole ecosystem of the garden was working to reduce slug populations. There would be plenty of birds, mammals and reptiles and the slugs didn't have a chance to get out of hand. This is obviously cold comfort to anyone struggling with slugs in a normal garden - myself included. However I do believe that the answer can lie in getting wildlife to work for us. Having said that, nematodes - as Copperbottom says, are very effective.

    Emma. team

  • my garden has been devastated by something and it could well be slugs now i have read this!  I never really thought it would be in the winter but maybe it is....

  • A big container of (very) salty water works wonders as does big boots against the little horrors although they seem to appear just as thick next day.

  • I have used equine garlic powder, sprinkled fairly liberally around my vegetables.  It has worked a treat - my chillies have remained intact, and un-slugged, for the last two years.  Definitely highly recommended!

  •      It really amuses me to see how many,  go out with a torch at night, slug hunting.  I thought I was the only one. I didn't try that until I spent £10 on three Mecanopsis.  They were completely gone next morning. I found, with a torch,  that I had simply dozens of them.  I now only use pellets in early spring, before frogs, etc., awake; then out come the "garden"  scissors which I find most effective of all.   Off with the heads so no slow death and no recovery. Now the problem is not so great.      Old gardener.

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