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Slugs and snails

Are all slugs and snails found in the garden destructive?

I seem to recall reading somewhere there are slugs that prey on other slugs and snails and would hate to think I am killing the good ones as well



  • BoltgirlBoltgirl Posts: 10

    The main slugs that I have a problem with ar the Arion lusitanicus, which have many common names, among them murderslug, Spanish slug, and others. It is invasive and prolific, breeding very rapidly and eating everything in sight - even each other. Some people snip them in half, then cover the carcass in poison, and other Spanish slugs come along and eat those, then crawl off and die. The friendlier snails, shelled varieties, I leave. Yellow or Blue Ducks seem to like the Spanish slugs as a tasty meal, and many people over here in Sweden have them for just that purpose. Might be difficult to get ahold of in GB, especially since the Svensk Blåanka (literally translates to Swedish Blueduck) isn't the same as the variety of the same common name found abroad. Anyways, that's my two bits worth, and I wish you all the best of luck. 

  • I don't tend to kill anything in the garden, even the slugs and snails which feed a whole host of other critters.  I use gravel, copper tape, egg shells etc to stop the wholesale destruction of my favourite plants.  By chance, as it has a path running past it, I put all my young plants by the pond to harden off and none of them have been nibbled.  I'm presuming as the pond is home to frogs and newts and is visited by birds and hedgehogs, any slugs are quickly despatched image

  • I'm lucky here, mallards visit the garden regularly and do their bit but the key defenders of my hostas here seem to be less glamorous creatures such as pygmy shrews, ground beetles and newts. There's a small population of slow worms but oddly enough no frogs or toads apart from the frog spawn I introduced this year from some evaporating ponds nearby.

    Boltgirl is right to suggest ducks - all domestic breeds will eat them. Expect a bit of impact though as they do like creating muddy puddles and although far less destructive than chickens, those webbed feet are great for trampling delicate plants! Properly handled they're terrific pets and breeds such as khaki campbells will lay an egg a day year round more or less.

  • BoltgirlBoltgirl Posts: 10

    I totally forgot to mention what I saw on Gardeners' World, from last year, I think. Rachel visited a pair of hostaholics, June Colley and John Baker, who had something like 1300 different kinds of hostas, which were all in pristine condition. Their recipe for success was garlic - apparently, it serves as a mild nerve poison for slugs, so they leave the leaves alone, and it kills the eggs, when you spray it on the soil. The recipe for making the garlic spray was as follows: 

    Put a whole garlic in a plastic bag, smash it with a rolling pin or other heavy tool. 

    Add the smashed garlic to 1L of water, let boil on the stove for 5 minutes. 

    Let it cool, then sieve it, then bottle the garlic water and store in the fridge. 

    Add 1 tblsp/1L of water in a spraybottle as needed, preferably a long nozzled one so you easily can get in under the leaves to spray the soil. 


    has anyone tried it to see if it really works my garden is full of slugs and snails l think there must a least more than three kinds of snail


    has anyone tried it to see if it really works? my garden is full of slugs and snails l think there must a least more than three kinds of snail

  • BenDoverBenDover Posts: 480
    I visited a garden in the National Garden Scheme last year. They used the garlic brew method and they had fantastic hostas. However, the owner of the garden also said that at the start of the season, he relied on slug pellets, and also a good pair of scissors and a torch.
  • YJF56YJF56 Posts: 1
    What do you do with all the slugs that can be collected at night? I hate killing things and will leave the snails alone.
  • BoltgirlBoltgirl Posts: 10

    I put the slugs right in a bucket with saturated salt water. They die right away, so I figure this is the most humane way to get rid of them. I am lucky to have the sea right nearby, so I empty the bucket into it and the crabs get a good meal, too. If you don't have the sea nearby for a nice supply of salt water, I suggest buying a large bag of salt, the kind you use for the road in winter, and take a bucket of that on your slughunt. The salt will stil kill them immediately. 

    If you, like me, are a bit squeamish about picking the slugs up (they're really, really slimy), then the best tool I've found is the big wooden tweezer-like vices you use to pick up toast (but get a separate pair for the slugs!). 

    I agree that it's very hard to kill even slugs, but with the ones we've got here, they breed worse than rabbits, and take over everything if you don't get rid of them. Last year, I couldn't walk barefoot at all, cause every few steps I'd be stepping on a slug!

  • cloud8cloud8 Posts: 103

    I have copied down Carol Klein's advice from Gardeners' World on Friday for slug resistant plants - a most welcome feature.  Here they are:


    agastache 'Blackadder' giant hyssop


    digitalis foxgloves


    helleorus hybridus lenten rose

    knautia macedonica 'Red Knight'

    penstemon heterophyllus 'Heavenly Blue' foothill penstemon

    ranunculae - buttercup family (aconites)

    rosaceae (alchemilla, crataegus, cotoneaster, prunus, rosa, rubus, sorbus)

    sedum 'Jose Aubergine' ice plant

    sidalcea 'Elsie Heugh' prairie mallow


    Happy slug free gardening

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