Slug and Snail Control in Vegetables


The nature, importance and scale of vegetable farming varies hugely between different parts of the world, climate and local customs being the main driver.

Susceptibility to Slug Damage

Leafy vegetables, such as lettuce, or plant buds of certain species, for example Brussels sprouts, are especially vulnerable to slug damage. But even low levels of feeding damage can be very costly if it leads to the downgrading or rejection of the crop for its intended market.

The tendency to irrigate vegetable crops also increases the risk from slug damage, as the damp and humid conditions at the soil surface provides a comfortable environment for slugs and snails.


Species of Concern

All the common species of slugs and snails can damage vegetable crops. In some countries, recently arrived invasive species (such as the Spanish slug in Europe) have proved even more damaging.

Symptoms of Attack

slug damage to lettuce

Precise symptoms vary by crop but will include a degree of leaf shredding and holing. Characteristic slime trials will also indicate slug and snail presence. In leafy crops close examination may be required to find the culprits as they can often be found between and under leaves.


The risk of slug attack and damage can be minimised by deploying cultural control methods. These should be employed before the use of slug pellets.

A well-timed pellet application, however, can make a big difference to the bottom line of any vegetable crop. Careful timing of applications will help both minimise any damage to the crop and maximise the control achieved. Exact timing will vary by the type of vegetable crop being grown, but will usually be dictated by either the first signs of slugs in the field, or the first signs of damage.

Applications of AXCELA® pellets to vegetable crops should be done in such a way to avoid pellets lodging in the foliage of the crop.

Continue to monitor the crop after application and make follow-up applications if required.