Gardeners are used to dealing with the problem of slugs outside as they are a common garden pest that likes to eat leafy vegetation. But what about how to stop slugs from coming into the house?
In damp weather, you are more likely to spot slugs, and if you find a slimy trail in your home, you might just have an unwelcome visitor.
Keeping slugs out is difficult because these slippery creatures are invertebrates with no skeleton, so they can squeeze through the tiniest of gaps.
In this guide, we will examine how to stop slugs from coming into the house.
Why do slugs come inside?
Like most pests, slugs venture inside to seek warmth, shade, and protection.
According to experts at The Royal Horticultural Society, the most likely slug you will find indoors in the UK is the Yellow Cellar Slug ‘Limacus Flavus’. It is up to 13cm in length and is slim framed with a distinctive yellow, green or light brown body.
This slug usually survives on mould or algae but will resort to pet food or food compost if hungry.
It might be hard to spot a slug as they are nocturnal creatures and will usually be out of sight during the day. They often hide in vents or drains.
You are more likely to spot them via mucousy trails on the floor or other surfaces.
How to Get Rid of Slugs in the House
To eliminate slugs, you will need to find out how they are getting into your property. One way to do this is to use a torch to illuminate a slug trail and follow it to its entry point.
It is worth noting first that slug pellets have been banned in the UK because of the risk to other wildlife and pets.
Next, you want to block their entrance. You can use a draught excluder for gaps under doorways or filler for holes in walls. Slugs can get in even tiny cracks, so ensure you fill them all well.
You will have more of a problem if they are using a vent, as you will be unable to block the route in.
Fortunately, some alternative methods can discourage slugs from entering your home.
Gardeners have been using copper tape around their plant pots for years because it gives off a small charge when touched by slugs. It causes no harm, but slugs do not like it and usually stay away.
You could protect vents and other necessary openings with copper tape.
Salt has also been used for years by experienced gardeners. It works by rapidly dehydrating the slugs causing a quick death.
Dr Gordon Port from Science Focus refers to salt as “kryptonite for slugs”.
One problem with using salt is that it needs to be on a dry surface and away from soil that will be contaminated.
Deal with Damp
As slugs are drawn to damp, dark places, it is sensible to ensure that any dampness in your home is dealt with promptly.
It would be best if you wiped away any condensation on windows to discourage slugs from entering.
What better way to keep slugs away than to let nature take of them?
There are many natural predators for slugs, including birds, frogs and hedgehogs.
You can encourage birds into your garden by providing food and water. A bird table or hanging feeders make attractive additions to your garden.
A wildlife-friendly pond will encourage frogs, who are also rather fond of slugs.
Another creature that loves some slugs is a hedgehog. You can install a hedgehog house and create hedgehog holes in your fence to encourage their passage through your garden.
Keeping on top of your slug population in your garden by creating biodiversity will reduce the risk of slugs coming inside.
You can buy friendly slug traps that lure slugs in with a beer or sugary liquids but make it difficult for them to escape. Once trapped, you can release the slugs away from your garden.
You can create homemade versions, but it is more likely that the slugs will drown. You simply pour beer into an empty container until it is half full and place it where you know slugs have been.
Sheep Wool Pellets
Wool pellets are organic pellets that deter slugs without causing any harm. They work by absorbing water and swelling. Slugs are irritated by the wool fibres and will stay away.
They can be used safely to block entry points.
Slugs have soft, delicate skin, so they prefer smooth surfaces.
You can create a rough surface with eggshells or garden cuttings to discourage slugs from entering.
You can discourage slugs by using plants near your doorways that give off a scent that repels slugs.
Examples of scented plants are astrantia, wormwood, rue, fennel, anise and rosemary.
Check your Windows and Doors
It is worth surveying your windows and doors to see if any need resealing. Even tiny gaps that have appeared could be inviting to slugs seeking shelter.
Diatomaceous Earth (silicon dioxide)
Diatomaceous Earth is a soft silica-based rock with a sharp feel due to fossilised algae particles.
It dries out protective oils on many insects and acts as a pesticide. Slugs do not like the feel of the substance and will not cross it.
One difficulty is that the diatomaceous earth must be dry to act as a deterrent, and it can irritate humans if breathed in.
Are slugs harmful?
Slugs are a problem for gardeners and farmers due to the damage they cause to crops and plants. But are slugs actually harmful?
Despite their creepy looks, slugs are not poisonous. If slugs crawl across your skin, you may experience irritation from their radula, which they use as suction as they move.
Whilst slugs are not toxic, they can carry parasites that can cause harm to humans or pets if ingested. A common slug infection is a lungworm which can cause brain or spinal damage if swallowed.
If you have a pest control problem, get in touch with us at EWS Group for advice and to create a plan to eliminate and prevent pests from your home or business. We are experts in pest control and fauna management using the latest Integrated Pest Management (IPM) methods.