Snails and slugs cause considerable damage to gardens. The silvery trail left behind by these animals is a telltale sign of intrusion. There are several ways to get rid of slugs and snails in the yard. Baiting slugs and snails should be used as a last resort, as it introduces hazardous chemicals to your garden. If slug and snail baits are required, there are many to choose from.
The most common slug and snail baits contain metaldehyde. These baits come in pellet form and in pastes. These baits kill slugs quickly, leaving dead slugs and empty shells visible. However, metaldehyde poses a serious health risk to children, dogs, and cats. When applying baits containing metaldehyde, do not create piles of slug bait. This can make it more attractive to pets and children. Instead, lightly sprinkle the slug bait under the leaves of plants, where it is humid and cool. Be very careful not to get the bait on plants in the garden, as this can contaminate your vegetable with metaldehyde.
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Iron phosphate slug baits are much more environmentally friendly than metaldehyde. These baits are not hazardous to use around children, pets, birds, fish, and other wildlife. Because of its low risk, iron phosphate slug bait can be scattered in lawns, around fruit trees, and beneath plants in the garden. Slugs and snails may live for a few days after ingesting baits with iron phosphate. This means that you may not see the dead bodies of slugs, as they prefer to die in hiding.
The best time to apply slug and snail baits is after you have watered the surrounding area. The added moisture can draw slugs out of hiding. Do not water for a few days after applying baits, as this may cause the bait to disintegrate faster. Slug bait in the form of pastes last longer under wet conditions.