How Do Slugs Reproduce?

In the blink of an eye, slugs appear to take over your garden as if appearing from nowhere. So where do these slugs come from? How do slugs reproduce? And do they lay their eggs hidden in your garden ready to attack?

Slugs are hermaphrodites and they can reproduce with both males and females. Slugs only need to find a mate to exchange sperm with to reproduce. 

Slugs have evolved for many years and have become hermaphrodites. Slugs only need to mate, and either or both parties can become pregnant.

Slugs have to perform a courtship dance, and then they mate. After mating, the impregnated slug will find a spot to hatch eggs in a month or two.

Do Slugs Reproduce on their Own?

Slugs are hermaphrodites, which means they are both males and females. Therefore, the slug has the capability of fertilizing itself. However, most often, slugs will mate together. Some species of slugs do self-fertilize and can reproduce on their own.  

Do Slugs Lay Eggs or Give Birth?

Unlike mammals, slugs lay eggs rather than give birth to live young. After mating, the impregnated slugs or slug will find a place to lay the eggs. The impregnated slug lays eggs from a minimum to three until fifty eggs.

The slugs hide their eggs under bark or in a small sheltered hole. They will also simply bury the eggs towards the base of plants just beneath the soil surface.

What Do Slug Eggs Look Like

The eggs hatch after a month or two, and it takes a few months for the babies to mature. The baby slugs look like adult slugs but are white. As the slugs mature, their colour begins to darken. 

Where Do Slugs Lay Their Eggs? 

After getting impregnated, an adult slug will lay eggs on the soil or underneath it. As a gardener, it is important to recognize the slug eggs and get rid of them before they cause an infestation. 

You can control the slug population in your garden and prevent it from getting out of hand by looking for slug eggs. You can search for the slug eggs under pot plants, in the soil and around the base of plants.

It is important to be thorough in your search and understand that you may not always find the eggs as they are hidden. In addition, slug eggs are quite small, and it can be easy for you to miss them. 

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Slugs prefer living in a moist environment and lay their eggs there. Concentrate your search amongst foliage that is not in direct sunlight during the day, for example.

How to Get Rid of Slug Eggs 

Having slug eggs in your garden is not the news you would like to receive as a gardener. There are certain drawbacks to having slugs lay their eggs in your garden soil. 

Slug eggs can hatch pretty early – as quick as two weeks. After the eggs hatch, the havoc begins, and your plants will not be safe from the damage. Slugs also like to feed on the stems and roots, besides the plant leaves. This is damage that can easily go unnoticed until it is too late.

There are certain methods you can adopt when getting rid of slug eggs. One thing you can do is pour soapy water on the eggs to kill them. 

The other thing to consider is ensuring your garden isn’t attractive to slugs in the first place. If a slug doesn’t feel safe in your garden then they won’t lay their eggs there. One of the easiest ways to scare them off is to ensure there are plenty of natural slug predators in your garden.

Hedgehogs and frogs are keen slug predators so make sure you have suitable hedgehog housing and a pond to attract frogs. Birds are also worth attracting to the garden.

Summary

Slugs are hermaphrodites, which means they have both male and female organs. A slug can fertilize itself, but it will often mate with another slug. Slugs have to perform a courtship dance when they mate, and after the impregnated slug will find a safe spot to lay eggs. 

Slugs give birth to eggs rather than live young in small places where they can hide. The eggs look like tiny white clusters. It is important to find the eggs and get rid of them.

Slug eggs can hatch as early as two weeks, and the young slugs attack the leaves and the roots and stems of plants. Hence, you must destroy the eggs and take preventative measures to keep slugs out. 

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