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Most common snails and slugs in the garden

During the day you will encounter many snails in the garden. The most common species are the common garden snail and the white-edged garden snail. Snails mainly eat dead leaves and are therefore not that harmful in the garden.

Slugs, on the other hand, emerge at night or after rain and cause damage to plants.

The red road slug and the black road slug are common. The largest slug you can encounter in the garden is the tiger snail, a slug with lots of spots.

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Red road snail

The red road snail can grow up to 15 cm long. In areas with a calcareous soil, the nudibranch often has a striking orange to red color. But be careful: the snail can also be dark brown to black in color. In addition, its head is usually slightly darker than the rest of its body.

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Black road slug

The black road snail is somewhat smaller, up to 4 cm long. The slug snail is dark in color and has a thin light gray band along the length of the bottom.

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Tiger snail

The largest nudibranch you can find in the garden. It can grow up to 20 cm long! The tiger snail can also eat other slugs.

Slug development

In the spring, from March to April, slugs lay eggs underground in piles of 20 to 30. The eggs look like small, white ping-pong balls. After three weeks, small slugs hatch from the eggs. It takes two months for the slugs to mature and be able to mate. Slugs are called hermaphrodites, which means they are male and female at the same time. So they can fertilize each other and both lay eggs.

In addition to spring, the slugs also lay eggs in the fall.

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Slug damage

In general, snails eat dead plant material, which is very useful in the garden! The snails that cause the most damage in the garden are the slugs. Slugs prefer large, juicy leaves, such as those of hosta, lettuce, cabbage or pumpkin.

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Slugs damage hosta

Slugs love Hosta! Here you see the characteristic round bites that are taken from the leaves.

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Slugs damage lettuce

Slugs also like to eat from the vegetable garden, for example the soft leaves of a head of lettuce.

Fight slugs naturally

Phasma nematodes are an effective method of controlling slugs. These small roundworms are barely visible with the naked eye and live in the soil. When they encounter a slug, they parasitize the slug and release a bacterium that kills the slug. Mixing Phasma with water and applying it with a watering can to the garden soil or in the vegetable garden container is an easy way to apply them. In this way, they can help to naturally keep the slug population under control.

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Nematodes against slugs

Nematodes against slugs: invisibly at work!

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Preventing slugs

Which plants do slugs not like? Slugs dislike plants with a strong odor or rough texture. Some plants that slugs often avoid are: sage, lavender, garlic, delphinium, spurge, marigolds, marigolds and yarrow.

It is important to note that no plant is completely irresistible to slugs, especially when they are hungry and no other food sources are available. Combining different strategies, such as using barriers, snails' natural enemies, and regular manual removal, can work best to protect your plants.

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In rainy weather, slugs emerge!

Other ways to control slugs

Making a snail trap with beer
Snails and slugs are attracted to the smell of beer. This means you can trap snails with it. Take a cup or bowl and fill it with beer. Any type of beer can be used, as long as it contains alcohol. Dig the container or dish so that the edge is level with the ground or just slightly above it. At night the snails will come to the trap, crawl into the beer and drown.

The disadvantage of this method is that other creatures can also drown in the trap and that snails are also killed, although they do not cause much damage.

Repel snails with copper wire or copper tape
Wherever snails go, they leave a trail of slime. When slugs and snails come into contact with copper, they receive a small electric shock from their moist snail mucus. You can repel snails by attaching copper tape or copper wire to plant pots or vegetable garden containers.

NB! Slugs can lift themselves over the wire or tape. Therefore, make sure that the barrier is wide enough.

Fight snails with ducks or chickens
Do you have chickens in the garden? Or maybe even runner ducks? Then feed the slugs to your pets! They will thank you.

Repel snails with eggshells
One method to repel snails is to use eggshells. Break the eggshells and sprinkle them around the plant(s) you want to protect. The sharp edges of the eggshells will puncture the snail's soft body and act as a barrier against the snail.

A disadvantage of this method is that you will have to repeat it over and over again. Also, the eggshells do not always work and some snails will still crawl over them.