Pest of the Month


If you start to see irregular holes with smooth edges appearing on the plant leaves, there are slugs feasting during the night—they also leave slimy trails. Slugs tend to be particular on what they feast on, although they may eat just about anything, if hungry enough. If you have young seedlings, or tender or new crops of vegetables just planted, you can bet slugs can find them. These tender young plants are a slug’s favorite!

Let’s get to know your slug—mild winters followed by wet springs seem to promote a population explosion of slugs—they thrive in wet or damp soil. Slugs are nocturnal and prefer to hide under rotting debris, rocks and leaves during the day. They will also migrate from place to place throughout your garden.


Britain has been termed the “Slug Capital” of the world!

Slugs are hermaphroditic (they have both male and female sex organs)

Each slug can lay around 300 eggs at a time

The eggs hatch three weeks after they are laid, and if laid in autumn, they will winter over before hatching

Slug eggs are white, slightly oval in shape, and measure 2-3 millimeters in diameter

Slugs have approximately 25,000 teeth

Slugs consume twice their body weight each day!

Slugs will breed all year round (weather permitting)

Slugs favorite plants are hostas, delphiniums, tulips, and irises

Slugs hate: lavender, mullein, roses, and lamb’s ear

To help reduce the population of slugs within your garden, try to encourage the presence of their natural predators. Slugs are a favorite delicacy for hedgehogs, frogs, ducks, birds, and ground beetles. Nematodes have been used by some growers for more than 10 years as an effective way to control these pests. Nematodes are aggressive organisms, used underground to treat the source of the infestation before it reaches the surface. They attack the slug by entering the body cavity, and once inside, they release bacteria which stops the slug from feeding, thereby bringing about a quick death to the slug. The nematodes then carry on reproducing within the slug carcass to produce a new generation of nematodes to hunt down additional slugs upon release! They are safe to use on food crops and are harmless to wildlife and pets. There are also many over-the-counter and human-made slug control solutions at your local garden center.

So, if you begin to see little holes on your young plants this spring, don’ jump to conclusions—they may be a sign of our slimy, slow-moving slugs!


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