Slug Pest Control

Did you know that slugs are related to snails? This might not come as a surprise since they look so similar—with the main difference being that snails have shells that they use to hide from danger. Slugs instead use other methods to steer clear of predators.

Scientists believe that slugs “lost” their shells due to lack of calcium and high dampness in specific environments, preventing snails from growing their shells anymore. Eventually, these critters didn’t need their shells, which brings us to our modern-day slugs.

There are other differences besides a lack of shells between these two creatures though, especially in terms of habits and behaviors. Most notably, slugs are able to roam freely and squeeze into tight spots, allowing them to live just about anywhere—including your home and garden.

If you’ve come across a slug or two in your backyard, then it’s best to understand more about slugs, the harm they can cause, and how to recognize signs of an infestation.

What Are Slugs?

Slugs are shell-less hermaphroditic mollusks that belong to the phylum Mollusca and the class Gastropoda. They are usually 1 to 3 inches in length and vary between earthy colors like green and brown.

Their name comes as no surprise based on the way they move. “Gastropoda” comes from the ancient Greek words gastér, meaning “stomach,” and podòs, meaning “foot.” Therefore, slugs are “stomach-foot” animals.

Most gastropods live in the water, but slugs are the only species that live on land. Snails and slugs are typically attracted to moist climates, and you might commonly find them in your garden and other humid areas.

How Do Slugs Move?

The slug’s foot (or body) secretes a slime called mucus. The mucus helps a slug’s body from losing moisture in dry conditions, such as when moving on soil or concrete. It also helps prevent injury from sharp edges, so much so that even glass can’t penetrate a slug’s body.

Although slugs can be quite long, it’s hard to spot one in your garden unless you’re actively looking. Only a few slugs are above ground at any given time. The rest are burrowing underground looking for food and nutrients.

You may have come across their eggs in your soil, though. Slugs lay about 100 eggs per year that resemble tiny white balls. These eggs can stay unhatched for years waiting for optimal conditions, so you never know when an infestation might mature.