Slugs in the house can drive you absolutely crazy. Their slimy trails usually appear overnight across floors, cabinets and carpets – even up the walls! But you can stop them. Follow the steps below to get rid of every slug in your house.
An older home can be especially attractive to slugs and snails – there are plenty of cracks and crevices and underneath it’s dark, cool and often moist.
From our friend Collin: “We live in an old farmhouse in the heart of a rainy, wet valley. It’s beautiful and green but there are slugs everywhere. There are these giant Banana slugs in the woods and these little gray slugs in the garden that would swarm over the seedlings like locusts if we let them. We’ve learned to deal with them outside but when they started to appear in the kitchen we (meaning the wife) had a problem.”
Kim (a city girl who used to live on the 37th floor in downtown Chicago): “These enormous slugs would show up, usually in the morning, or we would see their slimy trails around the cat food dish – it was disgusting! I wouldn’t touch them! So Collin followed their trails and then sealed every hole. This is still a draughty old house but we haven’t seen a slug inside for months – it’s brilliant!”
Why are they attracted?
Slugs have a good sense of smell and are often attracted to pet food, kitchens or pantries. Just try leaving the dog’s food on an outdoor porch on a rainy spring night – if slugs are in the neighborhood they’ll come running! (So to speak)
How do they get in?
Having no bones, or even the hard shell of an insect, means that slugs can squeeze through amazingly tiny cracks. They can also climb a vertical surface and even travel upside-down. Common entry points include the spaces under doors, holes drilled in the floor for water or gas pipes, joints along walls, cut-outs for furnace and dryer ducts and holes for electrical wiring.
How to stop them – No gaps equals no Slugs!
- Use a torch/flashlight in a darkened room to spot the dried trails from last nights’ invasion then follow them back to any entry points.
- Check along walls, around doors, pipes, vents and under cabinets for any gaps then seal with one of the methods below.
- Pellets applied outside will not attract slugs from the neighbors garden – a slugs sense of smell, especially outdoors, is more localized.
- For the same reason scattering pellets under the fridge won’t increase the number of slugs coming in – there are already enough delicious smells in your house for any slug to investigate.
For larger gaps we highly recommend polyurethane foam in a can. This material expands as it cures and fills up every void with a durable, pest-proof barrier. Pay particular attention around any pipes or ducting, joints and spaces around doors or the edges of baseboard trim. Wear gloves and old clothes when using foam because it will stick to absolutely everything including your hands. Carry a rag or paper towels to catch any foam oozing out of the nozzle. Hardened foam will also block the nozzle so use up the can while it’s fresh. After the foam hardens any excess is easily trimmed off – we like using an old serrated steak knife or hack saw blade.
We really wish we could still recommend this product but our experience and tests have shown that copper tape is just not as effective as we would like. Copper tape seems like an ideal solution – it lasts a long time and studies show that in some situations it works. But in real life it just doesn’t work very well – most of the time slugs and snails will slide right across without much hesitation. Check out these videos at one of our favorite garden sites. There are thousands of websites that will try and sell you this product but it just doesn’t work well enough for us to recommend it.
For smaller gaps (anything smaller than a pencil), silicone sealant works better than foam. We like the squeeze tube rather than a cartridge because it fits in tight spaces much more easily. We also find that clear sealant is less visible than tinted products.
Pellets applied where slugs are likely to hide is the very best way to control slugs and snails. The new generation of slug baits is effective, tasty to slugs and best of all not toxic to children, pets and wildlife. Baits developed in the last few years are based on iron phosphate, a compound not really toxic to anything except slugs and snails. Once they eat this bait slugs will stop feeding and then crawl away to die a few days later.
Old-style baits contain metaldehyde, a chemical toxic to dogs, cats, wildlife and people. Dogs will seek out bait pellets even if scattered about the garden. Some metaldehyde baits are coated with ‘animal repellent’ – this is an improvement but we have all seen the things a dog will eat – to us it’s just not worth the risk. Please buy baits formulated only with iron phosphate and labeled “pet and wildlife safe”. The dogs, cats, hedgehogs, snakes, children, toads and birds all thank you!
Pellets based on iron phosphate can be used inside the house. Just put them in a shallow tray or lid under the oven, fridge or inside cabinets. Of course always follow the label.
Of course a substantial gap under any exterior door means that slugs can waltz right in looking for a tasty meal. This seal may look a little odd but it does the job and it’s easy to install – just slide it under the door. It’s not recommended over carpet but a few strips of duct tape on the bottom will help it to slide smoothly. Cuts down on draughts/drafts too! Easily cut to size, the inner and outer sections can even be trimmed to different lengths.
Eliminate those hiding spots!
Control the slugs outside and not as many will come inside. Try our 6 step plan to get rid of slugs around your house and garden.
Diatomaceous earth is the fossilized remains of a single-celled algae called the diatom. Millions of these tiny fossils are collected over time and form deposits similar to limestone. This material can be sprinkled directly on slugs or used as a barrier. If you live in a dry environment diatomaceous earth is a very effective slug and insect killer. However, diatomaceous earth is not effective once it gets wet so most people will have better luck using one of the methods above.
Ducks are fabulous slug eaters and will seek out these tasty morsels all around your garden. They will also happily eat your lettuce seedlings so keep them fenced out until plants are larger. Plus, is there anything cuter than baby ducks? OK, maybe kittens…
Salt will definitely kill slugs and a band of salt across a doorway will keep them out but we don’t recommend this method. Salt will also kill nearby plants and constantly stepping over a line of salt just doesn’t seem practical. In addition, salt poured on a slug will create an orange slimy mess and it just seems cruel.
Thanks for Helping!
If you buy something by clicking on one of our links we get a few pennies from Amazon to put into more research on slugs and snails. It doesn’t change the price for you at all but helps us a bit. Fortunately, slugs aren’t picky so we don’t need that expensive ‘Royal Complete Duck & Rabbit Senior Slug Mix’ 😉
Thanks again we really appreciate the support!
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