years of studying the effects of slug baits for the Oregon grass seed industry,
Oregon State University entomologist Glenn Fisher has learned a lot about
battling slugs. Only two effective chemicals are licensed and made into slug
and snail baits for use on home gardens in the United States—metaldehyde and
iron phosphate. He and his colleagues found that the less-toxic slug baits
containing iron phosphate are as effective as metaldehyde baits for controlling
the slugs that damage gardens and landscapes.
phosphate slug and snail baits have been registered in the US since 1997.
Products containing iron phosphate include: Sluggo,
Escar-Go! and Worry Free.
Iron phosphate baits have proven to be relatively non-toxic around children and
pets, unlike those containing metaldehyde, according to the U.S. Environmental
has been an active ingredient in slug and snail baits since the 1930s. Products
containing varying concentrations of metaldehyde include: Cory’s
Slug and Snail Death, Deadline, and Slug-Tox.
These products are sold as granules, sprays, dusts, pelleted grain or bait and
are typically applied to the ground around plants or crops, to attract and kill
slugs and snails.
may be fatal to dogs or other pets if eaten. The death of birds feeding in
metaldehyde-treated areas has been reported in the scientific literature. These
deaths were from the birds eating the slug bait, not dead slugs. The four
percent pelleted metaldehyde bait, a concentration commonly sold to home
gardeners, is reported to be toxic to wildlife, according to the EPA.
baits, follow all label instructions and heed all label warnings. Don’t allow
baits to contaminate the edible portions of plants. NWGN
For more information, visit http://extension.oregonstate.edu/