Which Insects Eat Slugs & Snails? | Natural Enemies For Your Garden

Many insects like to eat slugs, snails, and their eggs.

For example, the larvae of fireflies are diligent snail exterminators.

They feed almost exclusively on snails and slugs for several years.

Firefly larvae follow the slime trail of the snails and kill them with poisonous bites.

The extinction of light-sensitive fireflies can contribute to a rapid spread of some snail and slug species, for example the Spanish slug.

Spanish slug sex reproduction
Spanish slugs are mating in autumn.

Insects: Natural predators of slugs & snails

However, various ground beetles are also direct predators of slugs.

In English, ground beetles are also called “snail hunter beetles”.


Video: Ground beetle attacks leopard slug


Ground beetle species that eat snails are, for example:

Carrion beetles also eat slugs, including the black slug hunter and grave digger species.


Video: Firefly attacks snail


In the following pictures, you can see how a small carrion beetle attacks a much larger slug.

Beetle eats Spanish slug Gerwin Bärecke Naturgucker-de
Strong-ribbed straight-rail carrion beetle (Silpha carinata) attacking a Spanish slug. © Gerwin Bärecke

Likewise, there are species from the short-winged beetle family that eat slugs. For example, the black fashion beetle is known to include slugs among its food.

In particular, many beetle larvae have specialized in eating the slow and relatively defenceless slugs.

For example, the red-yellow larvae of the soft-bodied beetle family are known to eat slugs.

beetle larvae with snail

The following video shows how the larva of a fashion beetle attacks and kills a slug.

The video illustrates that even a small beetle larva can overpower an adult slug without any problems.


Video: Beetle larva kills slug


Centipedes, for example, also target the eggs of snails. The nocturnal animals are extremely aggressive and also eat small young snails.

Many species of harvestmen are also fond of snail eggs (opiliones, daddy longlegs).

There are even species that feed almost exclusively on snails.

dead snail shell

Parasitic Insects

There are also flies that hunt for snails. For example, the horn fly, whose larvae feed on snails.

This is why horn / marsh flies are also called “snail killing flies”.

There have even been attempts to use these flies specifically for slug control. But so far unsuccessful.


Video: Snail-killing fly | 4K UHD


Video: Mites eat slug


Conclusion

The above list clearly shows that many insects are direct opponents/enemies of slugs.

It is therefore of great value for environmentally friendly slug control to provide insects with habitats in the garden.

Learn more about possible steps towards a garden in which many insects feel at home:

Insect-friendly garden: Elements & tips for planting.


Video: Ground beetle eats slug (Carabus coriaceus)


Other slug predators

Another important group of slug enemies are amphibians: e.g., frogs, lizards, toads and slow worms.

Here are some tips on the subject:

Create an amphibian-friendly garden.

In addition, many bird species also pick up young snails from the ground. It therefore makes sense to make your garden as bird-friendly as possible and to provide nesting help.

More info here:

Attract birds and settle them in the garden.

Here is a list of natural enemies of slugs and snails.

alternatives

 

Further Information

Ideas to control against slugs and snails:

Slug barriers

Slug and snail deterrent paint

Electric slug fence

Homemade slug and snail control

Runner ducks against slugs and snails


Peaceful Slug Control & Plant Protection

Slug Repellent Copper TapeGarden Cloche | Multipack
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Last update: January 11, 2023


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