Snails may be slow and small, but they can pretty quickly put holes in your plant leaves, ruin vegetable harvest and cause havoc. So, how do you get rid of snails? Will slug pellets kill snails or slugs only?
Yes, slug pellets will kill snails. Even though they are usually referred to as being slug pellets, this doesn’t limit their use to snails.
Slug pellets contain the chemical metaldehyde, which is effective in getting rid of both snails and slugs. You can use these pellets around your plants, and after the snails have ingested them, they go to a secluded area to die.
It is important to keep the slug pellets away from food items or anything you might eat. In addition, if you have any pets or children, you must keep them away as these pellets are incredibly toxic.
Why You Shouldn’t Use Slug Pellets
The first thought that comes to anyone’s mind when encountering snails and slugs in their gardens is to use slug pellets. It is understandable as slug pellets are a quick way to eliminate these slimy pests, and we all wish to see immediate results.
However, using slug pellets can have negative implications that you may not realise.
Slug pellets are poisonous to slugs and snails alike. These cylindrical-shaped pellets contain chemicals that kill both slugs and snails. There are two kinds of slug pellets you may find: One which has methiocarb and the other which has metaldehyde.
Methiocarb is banned in some countries. However, metaldehyde slug pellets are available commonly although they are slowly becoming banned across the planet.
Although these pellets are less poisonous than methiocarb, they are still poisonous enough to cause harm. Metaldehyde works to dehydrate the slugs and disable them from producing slime, which causes them to die.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of ways slug pellets can have negative effects on your garden.
If you have pets, especially cats and dogs, they may be curious about the pellets and attempt to consume them. Slug pellets also appear like kibble. Therefore, the cats or dogs believe they can eat them.
To attract slugs and snails, the pellets are manufactured with a cereal blend, making it appetising for dogs and cats. It is likely that cats and dogs will consume slug pellets, and it can kill them or cause them to fall severely ill.
Slug pellets are also harmful to general wildlife. Unfortunately, despite the repercussions, slug pellets are still widely used. Because of the cereal blend used in the pellets, wildlife is attracted to them. Smaller animals are more at risk of being poisoned by slug pellets.
It is a known fact that for many years, the population of slugs has increased; however, the population of their predators like hedgehogs, frogs and birds has decreased. One of the reasons there has been a downward trend for wildlife is because of slug pellets.
Avoid Using Slug Pellets
You might be frustrating with snails in your garden but you should avoid using slug pellets where possible. They are full of chemicals that will have a detrimental impact on other wildlife and the wider environment.
What Are Organic Ways to Get Rid of Snails?
After reading why you should not use slug pellets to get rid of snails, you may want to explore other options. Fortunately, there are a few natural ways you can get rid of snails without causing damage to your garden and wildlife.
The first thing you can do is encourage snail predators in your garden. It is important to maintain a balance and have a diverse garden to avoid the spread of snails.
There are many animals, like hedgehogs, that feed on snails. You can leave food out for them and build nests so they feel comfortable being in your garden, eating snails.
Snails glide to move around, and you can make this uncomfortable for them by laying down grit. Gritty substances discourage snails from gliding across the soil and will cut their body if they attempt to move.
You can also use crushed eggshells, sand and diatomaceous earth near your plants which helps deter snails.
A common method gardeners use to get rid of snails is beer traps.
You can make your beer trap by getting a plastic container, filling it with beer and setting it overnight in your garden. The beer attracts the snails, and when they get close, they drown in the container.
Trap up to 50 slugs at a time in these reusable slug traps. All you need to do is add beer and wait for the slugs to find their way in (and not back out!)
Snails are annoying to deal with and cause huge damage to plants. But you know that! So will slug pellets also work to kill snails? Yes, they will. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Slug pellets can harm children, pets, wildlife and the environment in general.
You can use organic ways to deal with snails like making beer traps, introducing natural predators to gardens, and using grit 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