Slugs and snails can be one of the most destructive garden pests. They love to feast on perennials, many kinds of seedlings and vegetable starts just to name a few. Controlling them can be a challenge. Applying Sluggo is a great start. Another important step is removing their favorite hiding places including rocks and general garden debris. Here are a few more facts to enlighten you about slugs & snails.
Know Slugs & Snails
Slugs and snails can lay as many as 500 eggs per year in the soil. The eggs hatch when they get moist. Snails have been known to live as long as 12 years while slugs generally live 2 years or less.
They come in many different colors and sizes. Snails have a shell. Slugs do not have a visible shell.
Many gardeners complain that they have applied slug and snail bait, sometimes using a couple of different brands, and their plants are showing signs of new damage. This can happen for a couple of different reasons.
Slug and snail infestations can be so severe that the pests are eating the bait at a very fast rate. Check more often to see if additional applications of Sluggo are needed. Also, incorporate additional control methods like keeping the garden free of debris, rocks and other hiding places. Create barriers around certain plants, planters and raised bed like by using copper tape.
Another issue is that it is not slugs and snails eating your plants. Sluggo Slug and Snail Bait only controls slugs and snails. Additional pest problems can be earwigs, cutworms, sow bugs and pill bugs. If this is the case, apply Sluggo Plus per the label directions.
Simply put, garden snails have shells and slugs do not.
Slugs and snails avoid hot, dry conditions. They hide under boards, rocks, fences and plants during the warm parts of the day unless it is cloudy and cool. Generally, they are most active at night or after a light rain from spring to fall, and hibernate during the winter.
You can use our Sluggo Meter to determine when Slugs and Snails are most likely to become active in your area.
There are over 20,000 species of snails and slugs known at this time. The largest on record was a Giant African Snail that was reported to weigh 2 lbs and be over 15 inches long!
There are a number of native species in North America particularly in the Pacific Northwest and in other temperate forests along the Pacific Coast.
However, the common brown garden snail was introduced to North America from France in the 1850s! Why did this happen? They were intended to be used for escargot! In this case, as in many others cases, humans introduced exotic species to North America, which subsequently colonized their new homes.
Slugs and snails can adapt to stressful conditions, such as extreme temperatures or long periods of drought. They can even tolerate freezing temperatures which may cause the formation of ice crystals in their tissues for brief periods. Snails may create a membrane structure called an epiphragm, which protects them during hibernation in the winter or estivation during exended dry periods. They have been known to stay in these dormant states for many months, and to recover quickly when favorable temperatures and humidity return. The epiphragm is an effective device that allows the transfer of humidity and oxygen, while preventing dehydration.
Slugs and snails have a rasping ribbon-like structure that operates like a file. This structure, called a radula, may have thousands of tiny, sharp “teeth” that they use to pulverize plant tissues before they swallow them. They are extremely efficient eaters and can consume several times their body weight each day.
Slugs and snails are capable of mating as male and female. However, in the absence of a partner, all common garden slugs and snails are capable of fertilizing themselves, and laying viable eggs. This is part of the reason that they are so successful and difficult to eliminate from the garden completely.
The quick answer is do not wash your hands. Rather, rub your hands together as you might with rubber cement, which will cause the slime to ball up, and then you can dispose of it. Washing the slime in water just makes it more slimy. The reason for this is that the mucous from slugs and snails actually absorbs water. This is a very important property for a creature that is so sensitive to dry conditions. Slime can be used both as a lubricant for crawling and as an adhesive which allows the snail to rest on vertical surfaces for an extended time.
Snails and slugs chew irregular holes with smooth edges in leaves and flowers and can clip succulent plant parts. They also can chew fruit and young plant bark. If you are still not sure, talk to an expert at your local garden center.