Cannabis pests- Slugs and snails

In this article:

Slugs/Snails love cannabis plants and they are a pretty common problem for outdoor growers. They do not only eat bits of your plants (similair is caterpillar damage), but they also leave a dirty trail of slime that could ruin your buds when they crawl over them. These are also the first signs to look at!

This snail is eating on a leaf. You can clearly see the bite marks and their remarkable “scalloped” shaped edges.

Just a few snails are needed to ruin your plant in +- 24 hours. They especially love the juicy, bright green leaves of a plant, so they won’t be very harmfull in the beginning. However after a few leaves have been eaten, it will cause mayor problems to a plant.

Slugs/snails are mostlyt active at night when it’s cold and moist. This means that there is a small chance you will see one in daylight. This makes it even more important to recognize the signs of a snail/slug infestation on time:

Signs of slugs/snails attacking your plant:

  • Large holes (punctured) in leaves and buds (Often scalloped on edges)
  • A trail of slime that will dry up eventually (Looks somewhat like spit). Mostly found on the damaged leaves.
  • These kind of signs are often seen very early in the season (Spring). Before most other bugs become active.
  • A smaller seedling can be eaten overnight leaving just a stem.
This is the trail that a slug/snail will leave on the leaves of your plant. This trail will dry up and stays visible. When seeing these trails on your plant it assures you that it has been visited by a snail/slug. In that case: Start acting now!

How to get rid of slugs and snails?

There are multiple, pretty easy options when it comes to treating slugs and snails. Next to that, they don’t have to be expensive and some of them can be done using basic household objects. In this article we will talk about the most effective methods!

The best way to avoid them reaching your plants is by creating physical borders that won’t allow them to come in. This can be done in 2 ways:

  • Using copper tape to wrap around your pots. Slugs/snails can’t crawl over copper as it gives them some kind of “shock”. They will fall down once they toch the copper tape. To save lot’s of this (“expensive”) tape, you could make smaller traps out for plastic bottle. Find out how!
  • Snails/Slugs don’t like sharp, edgy or sandy surfaces to walk on. So create a barrier by sprinkling egg-shells, sawdust or anything similair around our plants. They will really avoid that and stay off your plants!
This slug is looking at his next meal. They love to eat leafs but they are also good at destroying buds. A slug like this looks a bit like a snail without it’s house.

Slug and snail traps

Another way to keep them away is by drawning their attention to something else. Slugs/Snails are very attracted to certain things so much, it you can lead them away from your plants. After that it is easy to trap them. Slugs/Snails are very attracted to: Orange rinds, milk and beer. So place them in the area of your plants and you will see it for yourself.

Making a beer trap for slugs/snails

In order to catch them and treat an infestation, you could make a “beer trap” quite easily. To do this, you need to get yourself a small plastic container or cup and dig it in de ground. Make sure the rim of this cup/containers stays above the ground for 1-2 CM. This way the slugs/snails are able to crawl in easily.

Now get yourself some flour and mix it with stale beer. Then fill your cup/container with this mixture and wait. If there are slugs or snails in your area, they will definitly pay a visit to your trap and fall in. Eventually they will drown.

Make sure to come back and empty the trap regularly as it can fill up very quickly and you want it to stay effective.