If you have spotted some silvery trails across the kitchen floor when you come downstairs in the morning or the middle of the night, or perhaps even stood on the culprit himself (not a pleasant experience), then chances are slugs have made it from your garden and into your house.
These slimy sleuths are on the trail of a tasty meal from your own cupboards. With a strong sense of smell, they will slip in through the cracks on catching a whiff of whatever food is inside.
Household slugs are often found in older houses where little holes and cracks make the perfect entry into your pantry and the cold and moist foundations make the ideal home. Leaving food out, whether for humans or pets, is a sure-fire way to attract them and with no skeleton either inside or out, they can slip through gaps perhaps smaller than you would imagine.
They can even climb walls or move upside down very easily, making any gap into your house a possible entryway. Common passages include holes drilled for gas and water pipes, gaps under doors and holes for electric wiring, but anywhere with a reasonable gap in the joints of your house would do.
Getting rid of slugs is easier said than done and may involve a few “home improvements” to permanently eradicate them from your house. Listed below are a few ideas worth trying so you can go back to having a slime-free home.
Identify and block entry points
If you can, follow the trails left around your home to possible points of entry, such as cracks and holes that we discussed earlier. You can then look at sealing these holes permanently so that the slugs can’t enter your house in the first place.
For small gaps no bigger than the diameter of a pencil, you can use a silicone sealant such as Everbuild 450CL Builders Silicone Sealant. With a small nozzle, this is perfect for filling spaces in doorframes or between the floor and walls as well as between timber joints.
Bigger gaps are best filled with polyurethane foam from a can that expands and sets as it enters the gap to block out water, wind and of course those pesky slugs! Everbuild EVFF5 Fill and Fix Expanding Foam could be a good choice for this. Look for gaps around pipes and doorways to use this filler to block any possible slug entrances.
You must also read the instructions and cover any material, including yourself, that you don’t want the foam to come into contact with as it sticks to everything and is a pain to remove once dry.
Iron phosphate-based slug pellets are the only pet and human-safe baits to be used around your house. They are non-toxic to almost everything but slugs, making them the safest option for your kitchen and anywhere they might accidentally be consumed! Neudorff Sluggo Slug and Snail Killer is a good choice; it’s made from organic materials and is safe around cats and dogs.
Apply these pellets to places where slugs are likely to be hiding and once consumed, the slugs will stop eating and crawl off to die a couple of days later, leaving your kitchen cupboards free from slimy snacking.
There are more natural methods such as laying a line of salt along entryways. However, these lines are easily messed up by passers-by and this is also not the most pleasant way to kill slugs. You can also employ a family of ducks in your garden who love to make a tasty meal of your garden slugs, but this is perhaps a more expensive method in the long term!
Be careful to only buy the newer phosphate-based pellets and avoid those containing metaldehyde that is toxic to both animals and humans when consumed and dogs have even been known to sniff these out in your garden, so best avoided for use both inside and out! Look for a label that tells you the pellets are “pet and wildlife” safe.
Things that DON’T work for getting rid of slugs
There are a few suggestions that are also NOT worth wasting your time on. These are based on myths or are aimed at getting a quick sale by homeware shops:
- Leaving crushed egg shells on the floor as a trap has been proven to be an old wives’ tale that can actually have the opposite effect and end up attracting slugs due to the scent that the egg residue leaves.
- Barriers of sand and gravel are even less effective as the animals are used to slithering over many a rough surface in your garden already. This is also not the most aesthetically pleasing look for your kitchen doorway!
- Copper tape is a product often sold in hardware shops or garden centres as a slug deterrent, however there is little proof to support its effectiveness in keeping slugs out of your house and therefore comes less recommended than other remedies mentioned above.