Snails and Slugs


Slugs and Snails


Living in The Netherlands I have battled with the slugs and snails of this nation for many years. As it is almost permanently damp in The Netherlands it is a perfect habitat for them.

Some days you see that snails and slugs have made a meal out of your hard work but don’t despair there are ways to help control them. As I am a vegetarian and don’t like killing animals, even slugs, I personally rely on growing things vertically and catch and release. It is up to you to see what method is best for you but below I will share what I know and hope it will help you too.


How to keep slugs and snails off your crops


Non-Lethal methods


  • Crushed eggshells – this hurts their skin so they will go the other way
  • Coffee grounds – this is smelly to them and they avoid it
  • Copper strips – you can buy this at the Intratuin or amazon. The Copper adhesive strip can be placed on the side of the container. As the snail or slug crawls up the pot it will get an electric shock and turn back. Some bigger snails just ignore the shocks and this is not a deterrent.
  • Catch and release them. This for me is the most fun and most efficient way to protect your plants. Wait until it becomes dark and go out with a flashlight/torch/headlamp and some tweezers. Bring a container to put the snails/slugs into. In the spring time we had a few nights where we found 15-20 per night for a whole week. I release them in the park where they can carry on their lives.
  • Oranges are good traps too. When you have squeezed ½ the orange, place it in the garden with the flesh side down on a sunny day. The snails will try to get away from the sun and will hide under it and you can throw the orange away (not in the compost) or put it in the park near some bushes and it will decompose.
  • Give them an alternative food source and keep them as a pet or let them crawl on your face to reduce wrinkles. It is not my thing but some people do it.


Lethal methods


  • Introduce some natural predators like ducks, chickens, frogs, toads, hedgehogs or birds. You may not have a pest issue but rather a predator deficiency. I would suggest that you weigh up the suitability of keeping chickens or attracting natural predators.
  • Beer traps – you can buy these or make your own using a plastic cup ½ filled with beer. The snails and slugs drink the beer and fall in and drown. Although they had a happy drunk death, they are still dead.
  • Catch and eat them ( l'Escargot de Bourgogne) Before you go out and eat the snails in your garden, please have a look on Wikipedia as you cannot eat them all. Also beware that the neighbors are not using slug bait or you could consume that poison too.



Some things you should know about snails and slugs before you consider killing them:


Humans pose great dangers to snails in the wild. Pollution and habitat destruction have caused the extinction of a considerable number of snail species in recent years


They are a natural food source for many animals, such as birds, hedgehogs, and frogs.


Snails are like homing pigeons and limpets (sea snails). If you move them off your plant and release them too close to where they came from then they will find their way back.


They can live as old as 10 years old but most of them will live 2-3 years.