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Best ways to get rid of slugs, our hints and tips

Slugs and snails belong to the same family, but while the latter seem quite cute and harmless, the first are openly disgusting and regarded as pests by the majority of the population. They are valuable animals in every environment, as they normally eat decaying organic materials, but they can overgrown demographically, causing serious risks not only to flowerbeds but to whole agricultural systems. They can also infest households, the third most hated home invader after rats and mice, and very difficult to get rid of. Just think that any slug, being hermaphrodite, is able to reproduce by itself and can layup to 400 eggs, buried deep into the ground all around our precious plants! Although they can't survive for long spells in the dry and sunshine, they thrive in damp, warm whether and generally love dark and humid conditions.They are also very resilient, and difficult to eliminate. We have looked at many different methods, and put together a list of best way to get rid of slugs.

Only the best natural ways

Pellets are poisoned cereal chunks, dangerous for kids, pets, birds and wild animals. Not only are the actual pellets dangerous, but the poisoned slugs end up eaten by its natural predators and the poison climbs up the food chain. In other words, birds and hedgehogs are killed everyday by eating poisoned snails. We simply don't know in what number because they live in the wild, but studies have proved that the common slug poisons Metaldehyde and methiocar do kill animals as well. On the long run, this results in a decrease in population of the natural predators, actually making life easier for slugs as species.

There are various kind of pellets available on the market, some supposedly safer than others, but if you want to keep your home, garden and allotment toxin-free, then try out some of the following methods. We have only selected those that have proved to work, so take a look at some of the best ways to get rid of slugs:

Beer traps

They work both indoors and outdoors.

In a garden or allotment, bury a bucket, or some large jars and plastic cups, so the the top edges are out at ground level. Slugs are highly attracted by the fermented malt and yeast in the beer, they will fall into the container and drown, possibly drunk.

In the house, place a bowl of beer in the middle of the most affected areas. Slugs must be removed and beer topped up until the infestation is clear.

Salt

Bad for the soil, so only use indoors!

Find out where the little monsters come in from: look at the areas where you find them in large numbers, carefully searching for any hole, crack, or vent that may be their passage- if it's a vent, then think of replacing it with one that slugs can't go through.

Once found their passages, pour a trail of salt all around it. Any slug passing thorough it will die per osmosis. For all the others left inside you're house because not daring getting out through the salt barriers, proceed with the following method:

Hand picking

Look in their favourite spots, anywhere dark and damp and preferably with food- fresh or rotting vegetables, anything will do really. Look in your flower beds, in the cool shade under vases. If in the home, check under sink, fridge, washing machine! Pick them one by one, put them in a bucket or plastic bag to be damped in the rubbish or drown them in water.

The other option is to kill them on the spot by snapping them in half with a sharp shovel, gardening scissors or other similar tool. Sorry, but sometimes you've got to be cruel to be kind. Apparently, beheading them is the most human death they can occur into when an extermination is in place. Just remember that they may have eggs inside, so pick up the rest quickly and bin.

Picking outdoors is best done at night with a torch: slugs come out to feed at night time.

Introduce natural slugs predator in your garden or allotment

Chickens, ducks, other birds, hedgehogs and beetles are some of the most common predators. You may want to invest in poultry, as a matter of fact you would be swapping disgusting pests for fresh eggs! Or else, try to attract birds to your garden, maybe with a bird house and some apples.

Copper tape

PHOTO GALLERY: Small Garden Ideas

Protect your younger buds and plants by placing copper tape all around the flowerbeds or pots. It's available in most garden shops and online.The electrostatic charge of copper repulses snails. It doesn't kill them, just annoys them, promoting an healthy cohabitation. It is completely safe for other living being as well, but can be unpractical and expensive on larger areas.

Note that you will still have to hand pick and eliminate, or just displace, those slugs trapped inside the ring of copper, and new ones from eggs hatching under the ground.

The process may take few weeks.

In any case, perseverance!

Other less practical or more expensive solutions are out there, we have really restricted our guide to some of the tested, best ways to get rid of slugs from the house or garden. There are other methods out there for you to try, so really valid but costly, like the safe nematodes, microorganisms that are lethal for slugs but have no other side effects, and some plainly useless, like barriers of broken eggshells. The truth is, maybe a combination of some of the above can solve the problem, and anyway, constance and perseverance are a priority, as it may take weeks to get rid of snails the natural, environmental friendly way. Definitely worth it.

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