If you have any slugs in your garden, you may be tempted to reach for slug pellets. These pellets are the most common form of pesticides that gardeners use. But are slug pellets safe? And should you really be using them?
Unfortunately, slug pellets are not safe to use and can have long-term drawbacks.
Using slug pellets to deal with slugs seems good because it is easy and gives quick results. However, these pellets can be a problem for the environment and cause harm to more than slugs.
Other insects and pests also get affected by slug pellets. This is one of the reasons for there being a population decline amongst a range of different bugs and insects.
Why You Shouldn’t Use Slug Pellets?
There are two kinds of slug pellets that are commercially available. One of the pellets is made from methiocarb which swells slugs and kills them. However, in many countries, this poison has been banned, fortunately.
The slug pellets which are widely used in gardens and farms include metaldehyde. This is a poison that is harmful and dehydrates the slugs. However, when other animals ingest these pellets, it reacts differently. There are many parties that get affected by slug pellets, and why you should not use them.
Fortunately, more and more countries are banning their use.
They might have the word slug in the name, but slug pellets also kill other wildlife. There are many animals that feed on slugs. When animals like hedgehogs, birds, and frogs feed on poisoned slugs, they also ingest the poison.
As the animals are small, even a little bit of poison is enough to kill them. Many animal deaths have been reported, and the root cause is slug pellets.
In addition, slug pellets by themselves attract other animals. These pellets are made from a cereal that attracts slugs. The pellets also appeal to many animals. In addition, the pellets are small, and the colour makes them stand out. Many animals also die from direct slug pellet poisoning.
Can Slug Pellets Harm Pets?
If you have pets in your home, you must think twice before using slug pellets. Many of us have cats and dogs who love to be outdoors. However, there is a high chance our pets will consume these pellets if they are let out.
Animals like cats and dogs are quite curious and will swallow these pellets to know what they taste like. Slug pellets remain active for around six weeks. If you intend to use them, you must ensure that you stop your pets from going out.
Can Slug Pellets Harm Humans?
Humans are also at risk of slug pellet poisoning. Although the poisoning is not common in adults, a few doses may kill you.
The most at risk of slug pellet poisoning are children and babies. Slug pellets appear to be blue, a bright colour that appeals to many children.
Children can consume these pellets if they find them in gardens. Even if you think you have hidden them well, children are curious and may discover them. It is dangerous for children to consume slug pellets, which could kill them.
If you keep slug pellets in your home, you must locate them in a place where children cannot reach for them. In addition, if you have recently used slug pellets, you must refrain from letting your children out.
Do Slug Pellets Harm Birds?
One of the animals which feed on slugs includes birds. Unfortunately, slug pellets cause a lot of damage to birds. The chemical metaldehyde kills slugs by making them produce extra slime. This causes slugs to dehydrate.
However, slug pellets work differently when birds ingest them. The chemical in slug pellets affects the nervous system of birds. A number of birds tend to die by eating poisoned slugs.
As slug pellets are quite small and colourful, they generally attract birds. Moreover, slug pellets have a certain cereal that attracts birds. Therefore, a lot of birds tend to die by directly consuming slug pellets.
Do Slug Pellets Harm Hedgehogs?
One of the most common predators of slugs is hedgehogs. These spined animals are considered a gardener’s best friend as they consume garden pests. However, if you are using slug pellets in your garden, you are harming hedgehogs with them.
You’ve probably seen fewer and fewer hedgehogs… One of the major causes is the increased use of slugs pellets!
Not only do hedgehogs die from consuming poisoned slugs, but they also directly eat slug pellets as they scavenge for food. Many people do not realise that using slug pellets will kill the predator, which itself works as a slug-killing machine.
Do Slug Pellets Harm the Planet?
Slug pellets have to be the most popular way to control the slug population in your garden. It’s a quick fix. These pellets include a dangerous chemical, metaldehyde, that harms not only slugs but other wildlife. But it can also harm the planet further.
The metaldehyde found in slug pellets is broken down and becomes a part of the environment. The poison collectively can be found in water and threatens other wildlife.
There has been a decline in the population of slug predators like hedgehogs, birds, and frogs in recent years. Therefore, the natural balance which existed has been compromised.
Are There Safe Ways to Kill Slugs?
Now that you know about the dangers of using slug pellets, you will be on the lookout for safer alternatives.
Fortunately for you, there are many safe ways to get rid of the slugs in your garden. There are also some methods by which you can try to repel slugs so you do not have an infestation, to begin with.
Woollen Slug Pellets
Instead of using traditional slug pellets, you can try moving to woollen slug pellets. These are organic pellets made from sheep hair. These pellets have a rough texture, and when they encounter slugs, they soak all the moisture and kill them.
One of the most used, natural ways to kill snails is by using beer traps. This is a cheap way to kill slugs and something you can do by yourself. You can make your own beer trap by using a yoghurt container and adding some beer to it.
Slugs are known to be attracted to beer, will enter the cup, and drown.
Moreover, you can also get commercially-available beer traps if you do not have time to make your own:
Another way to kill the slugs in your garden is by using diatomaceous earth. You can spread this on the soil, and when slugs encounter it, they will be in pain. Diatomaceous earth kills slugs by forming cuts on them.
Many people like to use baits in their garden, such as citrus rinds. If you place citrus rinds in your garden during the night, you can collect slugs and kill them. You can discard them or soak them in soapy water to kill them.
Slug pellets are the most common form of pesticides. However, these pellets pose harm to many parties. The pellets are harmful to other wildlife such as hedgehogs, frogs and birds, which feed on slugs.
In addition, the animals directly consume the pellets and die from poisoning. Not only this, but slug pellets can harm your pets. If you have used slug pellets, you must refrain from letting your pets out. Also, humans, especially children, can suffer from slug poisoning if they ingest the poison.
You must look for safer ways to kill slugs in your garden.
Ryan is a keen gardener from the UK who’s spent years dealing with countless, common pests over the years so knows the ins and outs of how to deal with pests in the garden