Snails and Slugs
In outdoor cannabis grows, it’s quite common to find snails and slugs; they’re not very likely to appear indoors. They can also appear at any moment in the growing cycle, and they’re quite devastating for small plants and seedlings.
This is one of the more controllable infestations; they don’t tend to appear in large numbers, and if that’s the case, they’re easy to see, catch and kill; there are products designed specifically for trapping and killing snails and slugs. Check out this category if you’re looking for a way to prevent and get rid of snails and slugs.
What are Snails and Slugs
Both snails and slugs are herbivore gastropod molluscs that feed off of leaves and plant roots. They tend to be more active at night time or during rainy or stormy days, and they’re highly sensitive to temperature and humidity, meaning that they look for refuge from the cold among your plants’ leaves.
The main difference between snails and slugs is that snails grow with a shell attached, and slugs don’t have shells. Both act the same in terms of cannabis plants, feeding off of their leaves and roots. You shouldn’t take them lightly, as they can eat up to half of their body weight; they’re so hungry that if they end up eating all plant material around them, they eat soil.
Like we just said, snails and slugs have an enormous appetite, although it can be hard for them to completely devastate an adult cannabis plant. The amount of damage that this infestation can cause in your plants depends on the plant itself and the amount attacking. They tend to go after new sprouts and small plants, which is when they’re most dangerous. Just one snail could cause intense damage in recently germinated plants, enough to even kill them.
How to Detect Snails and Slugs
These pests are quite large and leave an obvious trail, which makes them one of the easiest infestations to identify. However, if they attack small plants they can destroy them quickly, so you’ll need to pay special attention to recently germinated plants and prevent this from happening.
If you find any signs of bites into the edges of your plants’ leaves, especially the new ones and new stems, this may indicate the presence of snails or slugs. They also tend to leave behind a silvery trail of slime which can last up to 24h. If you check your plants every day you should be able to easily detect the presence of this plant.
Adults are easy to see at night, in the morning and during the rainier or cloudier days. When it’s sunny, they’ll look for shelter under leaves or in shady areas, and they can’t go very far, so if you find any symptoms you can be assured that the culprits aren’t that far away.
It’s important to keep in mind that they lay their eggs underground, at about 4cm, they’re white in colour and about 4mm, found in groups of 50. They can be hard to detect, which is something you should keep in mind when it comes to preventing this infestation.
The most common signs are:
- Bite marks on the edges of leaves.
- Trails of snail/slug slime, which can last for 24h.
- The presence of eggs under the soil.
How to Prevent Snails and Slugs
There are certain practices and methods that you can use to prevent snails and slugs from getting to your cannabis plants. One of the methods that you shouldn’t use is salt; it may be toxic for snails and slugs, but it’s also bay for your plants.
- The first thing you’ll need to do to prevent any type of insect infestations is to maintain proper hygiene in your growing area; slugs and other insects feed off of fallen leaves.
- Avoid soaking the soil; water during the morning so that it has time to evaporate from the surface. These animals absorb water through their feet and are highly attracted to moist surfaces.
- You can also use preventive products such as Ferramol, which you should spread over your substrate near the main stem; this keeps snails away and will kill ones that end up falling on it.
- Snailprot by Prot-Eco is the ideal product for recently germinated cannabis plants, which are extremely vulnerable to this type of infestation.
How to Get Rid of Snails and Slugs
Getting rid of snails and slugs is quite easy compared to other infestations. You won’t need to use any sort of chemical product, as snails and slugs are easy to get rid of using traps or organic products during the growth and flowering period. You can even hand remove them!
A common practice, if you suspect that there’s a growing infestation, is to dig up the surface of your plants’ substrate slightly to get rid of any eggs. In order to get rid of them entirely, you can use Ferramol, a powdered product that’s designed to attract snails and slugs; when they ingest it, they become ill and stop feeding
If you want to know more about this infestation and how to get rid of it, you can have a look at our post about how to prevent and get rid of snails and slugs on cannabis plants.
If you have any questions regarding getting rid of snails and slugs in your grow, get in touch with la Huerta Grow Shop’s team of specialists.