Slug and snail control around the yard and garden


Slugs and snails prefer cool, moist areas.


Slugs and snails feed on plant material—Ornamentals, fruits, and veggies.

Active times of year

Slugs and snails are active from spring through fall.

Slug and Snail Damage

Slugs and snails injure plants by chewing holes of various sizes in the leaves and stems. These holes may be in the middle of the leaf or on the edge. Slug damage may be confused with injury caused by caterpillars. Because slugs often feed at night, the only evidence of their presence may be glistening patches or streaks of dried slime seen on the plants and the ground nearby. If caterpillars are present, they can be seen during the day on plants and in soil cracks near the base of plants; caterpillar droppings can be found on leaves and on the ground.

slug or snail damaged tomato

Damaged tomato

snail on a hosta plant with holes in it

Snail on a damaged hosta

top view of hostas with holes in them

Damaged hosta plants

Managing Slug and Snail Problems

Increase aeration

Thin plants and remove plant material hanging on the ground to improve air circulation.

Water in the morning

Allows soil to dry out, making it less favorable habitat for pests slugs and snails.

Water at the base of the plant

Don't water on the leaves, flowers and fruit.

Board Traps

Lay a board in the garden overnight; remove and dispose of slugs and snails from the underside of the board in the morning.

Pitfall traps

Bury a container level with the soil surface containing 1" of water mixed with a teaspoon of yeast. Remove remnants of drowned snails and slugs after a couple days.


Always follow pesticide label instructions and apply according to the label.

You've decided you need a pesticide to manage a pest but when you go to your local hardware store, you are overwhelmed by the
variety of brand names, liquids, granules, dusts, and container sizes and types.

Portrait of Regina Clinton
Regina Clinton

Extension Associate

NYS Integrated Pest Management

Regina Clinton
  • rmc34 [at]