Return to University of Kentucky homeUniversity of Kentucky Entomology


Back to EntFacts page

Information Sheets

Field Crops
Home and Health
Landscape Plants
Other Topics
List of All Entfacts
Site Map


by Ric Bessin, Extension Entomologist

University of Kentucky Department of Entomology

R. Bessin, Univ. of Kentucky
Slugs are common pests during wet weather and can damage many types of plants in the garden. Slugs are fleshy, slimy animals that feed mainly at night. They prefer cool, moist hiding places during the day. They range in color from light gray to black. Cool, wet spring conditions favor slug problems.

Slugs rasp on leaves, stems, flowers and roots. They produce holes in the leaves or just scar the leaf surface. Small seedlings in the garden can be especially vulnerabIe to these creatures. Silvery slime trials are evidence of slug infestations. Here are a few tips on how to prevent or reduce slugs problems:

  • Sanitation. Keep the area free of plant debris (leaves, prunings, pulled weeds, etc.), old boards, stones, or tires that provide cool moist hiding places for slugs.
  • Prune low branches or trees or shrubs which touch the ground. Rake the leaves or mulch in order to allow the ground to dry.
  • Metaldehyde or mesurol bait can be used to kill slugs. Read the label carefully. Do not allow pellets to come in contact with leaves of vegetables.
  • Beer traps. Empty cans buried up to the lip and partially filled with beer can be effective slug traps. Beer should be changed every few days to remain effective.
  • Barriers of diatomaceous earth, wood ash, lime, sawdust, copper striping, and salt embedded plastic strips can be used around bedded plants.

Some of these tactics are more effective than others. Barriers of diatomaceous earth, sawdust, wood ash, and lime may need to be replaced after each rain. Do not use barriers of salt, this can damage your soil. A combination of two or more of these measures should control your slug problems.

Revised: 1/04

CAUTION! Pesticide recommendations in this publication are registered for use in Kentucky, USA ONLY! The use of some products may not be legal in your state or country. Please check with your local county agent or regulatory official before using any pesticide mentioned in this publication.


[Home] [Back to EntFacts page] [Field Crops] [Vegetables] [Fruit][Home and Health] [Livestock] [Landscape Plants] [Other Topics] [List of All Entfacts] [Site Map]

This page is maintained by Pat Dillon, Department of Entomology, University of Kentucky. Please send questions or suggestions to: