Snails & slugs on the balcony: Where do they come from? What to do?

When the slugs conquer the balcony, the questions immediately arise:

Where do they come from, and how do you get rid of them quickly?

snail climbs tree
Snails are good climbers. Slugs prefer to stay on the ground.

How snails/slugs get onto a balcony/roof terrace?

Usually, you bring slugs and snails home with pre-cultivated plants or potting soil, only rarely do they invade on their own.

Brought in from a market

Flowers and herbs that you buy in a supermarket or garden center sometimes contain slugs, snails, or their eggs.

Because in large-scale garden centers, they find perfect conditions to multiply, e.g., Spanish slugs.

red slug
Slugs rarely stray onto a balcony or roof terrace.

Immigration from the neighborhood

If you encounter larger snails, it may well be that they have migrated by themselves.

This is because most snails are excellent climbers, who hide from predators high up in trees or shrubs.

Slugs can also climb walls, but they typically do not make it higher than the first floor.

As snails have fine senses, they could also have been attracted by certain plants.

If you cultivate the favorite plants of slugs on your balcony, this could be the case.

Treats for slugs include, for example, dahlias, hostas, sunflowers, and marigolds/calendulas.

Sometimes snails also come from neighboring balconies, if it was the neighbors who brought them or their eggs in.

snails and slugs hidden in plants
Tip: Check the plants for slug infestation when you buy them.

Prevention

Before planting purchased herbs and flowers, you should therefore examine them and their pots very carefully.

Some small slugs can even hide between the roots inside the pots during the day and often only come out at night.

These young mini slugs usually do not cause much damage.

If you find them in time and relocate them, you can save yourself from bigger problems.

Hence, purchased garden soil should also be checked because small snails or snail eggs are sometimes hidden in it.

If it happens frequently that snails migrate from outside to your balcony, slug and snail barriers are a practical solution.

Most slugs can be kept out with copper tape or slug and snail fences.

collect snails and slugs
Young slugs and snails can be collected and relocated without any difficulties.

How to control slugs & snails?

Trap, collect and relocate

If slugs and snails already infested a balcony, it is most effective to collect and relocate them.

The best time to collect them is in the evening after dusk or at dawn. Then it is possible collect the snails directly from the plants.

It is even easier if you offer them hiding places.

An upturned plate, plant saucer, or damp wooden boards, for example, will attract them.

If it is dark and damp underneath, they will hide there during the day, and you can easily collect several at once during the day.

More info about possible traps can also be found here: Setting up slug and snail traps.


Short Video: How to deal with slugs on a balcony


Beer traps should not be used, as they only attract more slugs and other useful animals might die in them.

Nor should slug pellets be used, as these have many unpleasant side effects: Risks of using slug pellets and baits.

slug pellets: slug and snail baits

Slug pellets harm nature and are not necessary to control slugs on the balcony.

Set up barriers

If snails or slugs keep coming onto a balcony, various barriers could be set up.

Even if you are afraid that slugs or snails might come into your home / flat, barriers are a possible solution.

The most effective barriers are slug fences. They are almost 99 percent snail- and slug-proof due to their double bent edge.

There are models made of plastic and metal, as well as electric slug fences.


Slug and Snail Fence | PlasticElectric Slug-proof Fence
Check prices on Amazon (Europe only)Check prices on Amazon (Europe only)

If you wish to protect individual plants, you can use slug collars or garden cloches.

An easy way to protect containers and other planters is the application of slug-repellent copper tape.

Further, wool pellets can stop slugs and snails. They also serve as a fertilizer.


Peaceful Slug Control & Plant Protection

Slug Repellent Copper TapeGarden Cloche | Multipack
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Sheep Wool PelletsSlug Collars | Multipack
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Here you can find an overview of snail barriers and here are a few DIY ideas to control slugs.

snapdragon snail proof flower
There are many flowers that slugs leave in peace, for example snapdragons.

Cultivate resistant plants

One of the best methods is to choose mainly plants that slugs and snails dislike.

Here is a list of vegetables and herbal plants that slugs do not like.

And here you will find information if you are looking for: snail and slug-resistant flowers.

If you are plagued by snails, it is important to avoid planting the balcony with snails’ favorite plants.

birds are natural enemies of slugs and snails
Blackbirds are natural enemies of slugs and snails.

Attract their enemies

There is usually not enough space on a balcony to attract natural enemies of slugs and snails.

But maybe you can try to attract birds, which will then also eat a few small snails.

For this purpose, you can set up a feeding place and a bird bath or hang up nesting boxes.

In times of a decline in insect population, you can also consider making your balcony insect friendly.

Because among the insects there are also many enemies of slugs and snails: Which insects eat slugs and snails?

In any case, the balcony is a good place to settle wild bees and hermit wasps, some of which even feed on slugs.

With children for example, you could set up an insect hotel.

plus minus

Conclusion

There are a few ways to get rid of slugs and snails on a balcony.

The most important thing, however, is to make sure when buying soil and plants that you don’t buy any snails with them.

If the snails or slugs migrate from the neighborhood, it is worth installing barriers, e.g., with copper tape.

However, slugs and snails can easily be lured into traps and then be collected and relocated.

A safe way is to cultivate only plants that they do not like.

Then you don’t have to worry about slugs feasting on your plants.

There are many possibilities to make your balcony bloom with slug resistant flowers.

snails and slugs on a balcony
May your balcony bloom in all colors.

Peaceful Slug Control & Plant Protection

Snail & Slug Repellent Copper Tape | AdhesiveGarden Plant Cloche | Multipack
Offer on AmazonOffer on Amazon
Offers on eBayOffers on eBay

Sheep Wool PelletsSlug Collars | Multipack
Offer on AmazonOffer on Amazon
Offers on eBayOffers on eBay

Mindful consumption: Please only buy what you or your garden really need.


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