Snails and Slugs

Facts, Identification & Control

Latin Name

Class Gastropoda

Appearance

What do they look like?
snail and slug illustration

Slugs are soft-bodied animals. Depending on the species, adults can be 25 to 100 mm long.

Snails are also soft-bodied animals. Snails have shells and can withdraw inside them. In harsh conditions, they can seal the shell and stay alive inside for several years.

How Did I Get Snails and Slugs?

Moist plant debris, underneath rocks, low weeds, mulch and fallen logs all provide hiding places for snails and slugs. Moisture is a key requirement for snails and slugs since they are adversely affected by dry conditions and the loss of body moisture. Moist locations are especially attractive if a food source is nearby. Both a snail and a slug will eat plant leaves, flowers, and fruits, particularly those at ground level.

How Serious Are Snails and Slugs?

While they don’t pose any physical danger to people, snails and slugs are a nuisance when they come indoors. Outdoors they can cause considerable damage to plants in gardens and flowerbeds. These pests eat large holes in leaves and may devour entire seedlings. Destructive to flowerbeds and gardens, slugs and snails particularly enjoy eating violets, strawberries, and lettuce.

How Do I Get Rid of Them?

What Orkin Does
The Orkin Man™ is trained to help manage snails, slugs, and other household pests. Since every home is different, the Orkin technician will design a unique program for your situation.

Keeping snails or slugs out of your home is an ongoing process, not a one-time treatment. Orkin’s exclusive A.I.M. solution is a continuing cycle of three critical steps—Assess, Implement and Monitor.

The Orkin Man™ can provide the right solution to keep pests in their place…out of your home.

For more information or to schedule an inspection, please contact your local Orkin branch office.

Signs of Snail or Slug Infestation

Homeowners often do not see the slugs or snails but instead find their slimy trails. These trails remain visible for several days. Their feeding damage to plants also is an indicator of their presence.

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Where do they hide?
Slugs and snails hide in damp places during the day. They stay under logs and stones or under ground cover. They also hide under planters and low decks. At night they come out to eat. They make a slimy trail as they move around. 

What do they eat?
Both slugs and snails eat leaves of plants. Since snails have shells, they need calcium in their diet. If limestone is not plentiful, they will sometimes feed on painted surfaces.

Reproduction

Both slugs and snails lay eggs in the spring and summer. They put the eggs in damp, protected places. Snails cover their eggs with soil. The eggs hatch in a few days. The immature animals develop into adults in a few months. Both snails and slugs can live for several years.

Prevention Tips

Preventing slugs or snails begins with eliminating their hiding places. Move firewood piles away from the house and store firewood off of the ground. Put planters and flower pots onto racks or stands. Remove lumber and stones that can provide a damp hiding place.

Make sure exterior doors close properly. Replace missing weather stripping or door sweeps. It may be necessary to use a dehumidifier in a damp basement. In general, anything done to reduce moisture will help manage these critters.

Secure crawl space doors to keep slugs and snails out. Make sure crawl space vents are open to allow circulation and reduce dampness.

The next step involves an inspection. The slime trails may lead to the slug or snail hiding places. It may be necessary to go out at night to see where they are coming from. Some people prefer to use tongs to pick them up rather than using their hands.