Exterminate Those Pesky Slugs: A Comprehensive Guide

Dealing with slugs in the garden is one thing, but addressing the issue of slugs invading our homes is an entirely different challenge. So, how can we effectively eliminate slugs from our houses, and more importantly, how can we prevent them from entering in the first place? Determining whether a slug or snail has made its way inside is relatively easy – just look for their moist, slimy trails on your floors and surfaces. Keep in mind that slugs are incredibly flexible creatures that can squeeze through even the tiniest openings, thanks to their lack of bones.

To help us tackle this problem, we sought advice from Hayley Jones, an entomologist at the RHS, who provided some valuable tips on keeping slugs out of our homes using natural pest control methods. Additionally, it is crucial to note that the use of slug pellets has been banned in the UK.

Which slugs are likely to enter our homes?

Hayley informs us about the specific slug to be mindful of when it comes to indoor sightings. "The Yellow Cellar Slug, scientifically known as Limacus Flavus, is typically the culprit. It is a medium-sized slug, measuring up to 13cm in length, with a slender body displaying pale mottling in shades of yellow, green, or tan."

What attracts slugs to homes?

Understanding what lures slugs indoors can help us prevent their intrusion, as they usually seek warmth or shade. "The Yellow Cellar slug primarily consumes mold and algae, but it may also indulge in leftover food, pet food, and compost. It is particularly drawn to dark and damp refuges like vents and drains. Since it is strictly nocturnal, we often only spot its mucous trails in unexpected indoor places, as the slug has already retreated by morning."

How to eliminate slugs from your home

If you discover a slippery slug trail, use a flashlight to trace its path and identify the entry point into your house.

For exterior doors, seal any gaps with a draught excluder.

For larger gaps and cracks, utilize a more permanent foam filler to block them. Refer to the recommended products below.

Hayley points out that preventing slugs from entering can be somewhat challenging. While the most obvious solution is to block their access routes, this may not always be feasible if it involves obstructing an older vent or a similar opening.

How to eliminate slugs from your home

1. Copper tape

Copper tape is a well-known method for safeguarding plants and pots against slugs and snails in the garden, but it can also be employed indoors. The texture of the tape generates a small charge upon contact with slugs, which doesn't cause them harm but effectively deters them.

According to Hayley, inside your home, an effective barrier that can protect pots is copper tape. This recommendation is especially suitable for the purpose.

Salt can also serve as a valuable deterrent if you spot a slug trail in your kitchen or bathroom. Trace the trail back to its entry point and fill it with salt. Hayley advises that this method will only be effective in dry areas, as salt will quickly wash away and might make the nearby soil or surface excessively salty.

To make your garden more favorable to natural slug and snail predators, Hayley suggests a few steps. First, provide food and water for birds and consider installing a "hedgehog highway" hole if you haven't already. Adding a pond to your garden is also a wildlife-friendly idea that will attract frogs and toads, which can help control slug populations. Ducks are excellent natural predators of slugs, but be cautious as they might consume your lettuce seedlings until the plants mature.

Further research has led us to discover two additional products that claim to prevent slugs from entering the house:

4. Slug traps: These traps attract slugs with beer or a sugary liquid, and once inside, the slugs struggle to find their way out. While this method is humane, ensure that you empty the trap far away from your house to prevent their return. Alternatively, you can create your own beer trap by placing a container half-filled with beer near the problem area. However, homemade traps do not guarantee the survival of slugs.

5. Wool pellets: These organic pellets serve as an effective natural deterrent for slugs in the garden and can also be used to block entry points into the house. Since wool is a natural material, it poses no harm and will break down naturally.

Creating sharp barriers using rough surfaces like eggshells or garden cuttings can be uncomfortable for slugs to travel over due to their soft bodies.

Certain plants possess slug-repelling properties. Astrantia emits a scent that repels slugs and snails, making it a natural pesticide. Additionally, wormwood, rue, fennel, anise, and rosemary have similar effects.

Installing bird feeders in your garden will attract birds that prey on slugs, serving as a natural repellent. This not only enhances the biodiversity of your garden but also reduces the likelihood of slugs entering your home. Consider exploring our selection of nine squirrel-proof bird feeders for your garden.

Check your windows and doors for any loose areas or holes and reseal them to prevent slugs from entering your house.

Diatomaceous earth, despite its daunting name, contains a form of silica that draws out oils from insects, causing them to dry out. While it can be irritating to humans, avoid inhaling it.

Hayley's insights provide a variety of effective methods and products for preventing slugs from entering your home.

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