Slugs have quite the reputation among gardeners… And it’s far from positive! You may have spotted slugs in your compost pile and are left questioning: Are slugs good for compost or not? Could there finally be a positive to slugs?
It’s good news for once! Slugs are good for compost because they will consume dead matter and encourage things to break down faster.
Due to the negative perception we all have against slugs, it is understandable if you are worried about finding them in your compost pile. But, slugs will not harm your compost.
In fact, slugs are doing the opposite and will help speed up the process of matter breaking down into compost as they consume dead matter.
Are Slugs Bad in Compost?
Finding slugs anywhere in your garden can be worrisome for most people. However, slugs are not bad in your compost bin. Many people worry that slugs in the compost can transfer to the plants you have in your garden.
However, once slugs have taken over your compost, it is highly unlikely that they will go to your plants.
Slugs in compost can be an issue if they are large in numbers. This is not necessarily bad for your compost, but it is not great to have too many slugs in your garden. A reason why there may be too many slugs in your compost is because of wetness.
Slugs thrive in high moisture environments so the wetter the compost, the more slugs there are likely to be.
You can get rid of the excess moisture in your compost by squeezing it out of the pile. It would also be a good idea if you included more brown material in your compost, like dried leaves. The dry materials will soak up any excess moisture that there may be.
Are Slugs Useful in a Compost Bin?
If we stop fixating on the negative aspects of slugs, they actually provide some benefits. Slugs are natural decomposes, and there is no place that is more perfect for them than a compost bin. These slimy pests feed on dead matter along with plant debris.
Slugs in a compost bin are quite useful because they help break down the matter and speed up decomposition.
As slugs are so useful in a compost bin, many gardeners avoid killing them at all in the garden. Instead, gardeners just handpick the slugs from their plants and from under pots and place them in the compost bin.
Having slugs in your compost bin may usually be accompanied by the thought that they may harm your plants. However, it is unlikely that slugs will leave the compost once inside. Many slugs continue to thrive in the bin until they turn old and die.
Are Dead Slugs Good for Soil?
Sometimes, you may kill a slug as a gardener and do not know what to do with it. Usually, people leave the dead slug out in the open for the other slugs to collect. However, you can collect the dead slugs and add them to your compost heap.
The slugs you collect will begin to rot because of the moisture. Eventually, with time, the slug bodies will release their nutrients. Dead animals, including slugs, will break down and provide benefits to the soil.
Don’t Add Poisoned Slugs to Compost
If there is a risk that the dead slug in your garden has died through poisoning with slug pellets then avoid putting this dead slug in the compost bin where it can eventually release those chemicals back into the compost.
How to Manage Slugs in a Compost
Sometimes, you may face an overrun of slugs in your compost pile. In this case, it is important to manage slugs as having too many of them is not a good idea.
However tempting it may be, you must not use slug pellets in the compost bin. The pellets will kill the slugs and other organisms useful for turning waste into compost.
One of the best ways you can manage slugs in compost is by introducing natural predators. Fortunately, slugs have a lot of natural predators, such as beetles. We’ve compiled a complete list of predators here.
In addition, you can also alter the ingredients in your compost bin. For instance, having more slugs in your compost pile is an indication that it is too wet. Therefore, you need to add more dry ingredients like dry leaves or newspaper to soak up the excess moisture.
When you hear about slugs, you think about the damage they cause to gardens. It can be surprising to know that slugs can provide you with benefits such as in your compost heap.
You may often spot slugs in compost heaps, worrying about the negative impact they may have. However, you should not worry too much because slugs are only speeding up the process. Slugs feed on dead plant matter, which is why a compost heap is a great environment for them to thrive in.
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