Updated: June 8, 2015
Slug/Snail Bait Reviews:When springtime hits us in Oregon, we are all ready to get outdoors and forget about the short winter days that are usually filled with rain. Part of my routine is making sure that our garden has survived the Winter months and is ready to blossom for Spring and Summer. Our biggest issue are always the slugs and snails that appear from nowhere and start eating the fresh leaves of certain flowers and plants. We have two rock (more like boulders) walls in which it seems that these snails and slugs live and they creep up our hillside or across the lawn to the new flowers and plant life. What I try to do each year is lay down some bait for them so things like our tulips and hostas survive. I often see the signs of these pests right around the first of April when the temperatures get slightly warmer and the tulips start sprouting.
Buying Guide - The most common ingredients in slug baits we found are the iron phosphate and metaldehyde. The chemical baits with metaldehyde are what I have used most of my life - my personal favorite is Deadline. I sprinkle around the liquid bait and the next morning there are literally dozens of slugs and snails that have feasted on in and they end up getting dehydrated to the point of dying. These baits often include an attractant which gets the slugs or snails to the spot where it is at and then they have no control over eating it. You will find these chemical baits in the form of sprays, dusts, pellets, granules, and the liquid. The problem with using these metaldehyde based baits is that they are toxic to cats, dogs, birds, and even humans. I don't have pets so I hadn't always thought about that ramification. In reading recent articles, I found that the iron phosphate snail baits work just as effectively as the other, more toxic offerings. Sluggo is a good example of a slug/snail bait that contains iron phosphate instead of metaldehyde. When the snail or slug ingests the iron phosphate they are almost immediately inclined to stop eating. Hence, your problems are solved and your plants and flowers can thrive. Other home based remedies for snails in your garden include things like coffee grounds that supposedly snails and slugs can't stand (it's the caffeine actually). I have also heard of some homeowners putting out little dishes with beer and the slugs and snails can't resist. The point being, don't always turn to the hardest chemical you can find to eliminate garden pests. As you have learned, some baits include chemicals that can be harmful to other living things. We went down to our local Home Depot and Lowe's home improvement stores to see what they were recommending. They carry all the products we've mentioned and it appears that Sluggo is the top choice. You can browse the best selling slug and snail bait online here.