NGA Articles: Snails and Slugs

Snails and Slugs (cont)

By: David George Gordon

Baits do the Trick

Many commercial snail and slug baits are available today as pellets, meals or emulsions. Most combine an attractant with an active ingredient, usually metaldehyde. Snails or slugs that consume metaldehyde are semiparalyzed, so are unable to crawl off into moist shade after a night of foraging. They die by dehydration when the sun comes up. But if weather is cool or rainy, they'll often slough off an otherwise lethal dose.

For gardeners concerned about the safety of children, pets and wild animals, there's another option. In the last few years, iron phosphate bait has made its way from Europe to the United States. This product is safer for non-target creatures, but slays slugs as well as metaldehyde baits. Sluggo and Escar-go are two common brands of iron phosphate bait. As with metaldehyde products, slugs consume the bait, immediately stop feeding, and die after a few days.

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