Asked May 25, 2020, 12:13 PM EDT

Big problem with slugs in the garden. What works best to get rid of them without harming garden?

Burleigh County North Dakota

5 Responses


The garden industry is getting away from products that have metaldehyde as the active ingredient. This is a pretty toxic chemical.

The least toxic slug product is diatomaceous earth. This product is made of fossilized lake diatoms that have very sharp skeleton made of silica. Slugs don't want to crawl across this surface because it will tear their soft bodies. Diatomaceous earth works well until it gets wet. The other concern is that you need to be careful not to inhale the particles when applying because it can damage your lungs.

More effective are pesticides that contain iron phosphate such as Sluggo and Escar-Go Slug Bait. Iron phosphate acts as a stomach poison in slugs. As with any product, make sure to read the label and follow the instructions.

One other suggestion, consider cleaning up plant debris in your garden. Slugs like to shelter under debris during the day.

Good luck with your slug problem!

Thanks so much for your help. I will use your suggestions. I have a lot of diatomaceous earth from a former gardener. If I chose to use that, I understand I will have to reapply it after it rains. How do I apply it (how thick and how far around the plant)? His does it affect the soil if it gets reapplied over and over?

Diatomaceous earth is usually applied as a dust. It really isn't a precise amount. You should shake a thin layer of it in a circle around the plant you are protecting. You can also shake some diatomaceous earth under the plant foliage. The goal is to create a boundary around the plant to prevent slugs from crossing it.

For safety, we do recommend wearing a mask. Diatomaceous earth can irritate your lungs if you inhale the dust. We recommend reading the label for further safety instructions.

You would normally apply once or week. Diatomaceous earth will not affect the soil. It is made up of silica. Silica is the primary component of sand. Therefore, it will not be injurious to your soil.

For safety, we do recommend wearing a mask.

Thank you very much for this information about slugs and how to control them. It is very helpful.