What Do Slug Eggs Look Like? Here’s The Answer!


Garden Slugs

Slugs and snails are enough to make the mildest mannered gardener see red. There is nothing more infuriating than planting and tending your plants, only to discover huge holes eaten in them one morning. You should be forgiven for any expletives and curses that might erupt from you – it is entirely justifiable. Limiting slugs in your garden starts by identifying their eggs. So what exactly do slug eggs look like?

Slug eggs are tiny jelly-like roundish balls that stick together in a slimy gum. They can be brown, grey, white, yellow, pearl, or even look a little transparent. The eggs are usually found in dark, moist places such as under leaf litter, the underside of low-growing leaves, or on the soil. 

In your fight against slugs, it is best to wipe out the eggs before they can hatch. To do this, you need to arm youself with the knowledge of precisely what slug eggs look like.

How Do I Know If Slugs Are Damaging My Plants?

Slugs mutilate plants. We are not talking about a few delicate nibbles out of a leaf edge. There will be ragged gaping holes in leaves, seedlings will have no leaves, and only the stem will remain. The chomping pests will decimate vegetables.

Another clue that you have a problem with slugs is that you will see slime trails on your plants and the surrounding soil. 

Once you have seen the damage caused to plants by slugs, you will become a determined slug exterminator. One of the most efficent ways to do this is to get rid of slug eggs before they hatch.

How Do I Identify Slug Eggs?

Slug eggs can be quite easily identified. They look a little like tiny caviar stuck together with a gelatinous substance. The eggs are found in clumps as the slug lays them all at once. The eggs are round or oblong, but the eggs may not all be a uniform shape.

Slug eggs can vary in color depending on the slug species, and they may be grayish-brown, white, yellowish, or pearl-colored. Slug eggs may be translucent when they are first laid but turn white or darker colors as the slug babies in them mature and grow.

Where Do I Look To Find Slug Eggs?

Slugs lay their eggs on the soil surface or in soil cavities just below the surface. The eggs are often laid under rocks, logs, or loose vegetation to keep them moist and protected. Sometimes slugs will lay eggs on grass clumps or the underside of low-hanging leaves.

The most challenging eggs to spot are in soil cavities as they are generally hidden from view. The eggs are easy to see when they are laid on the underside of foliage.

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A trick to finding slug eggs is to use a torch to spot the slug slime trails at night. Following these slime trails can easily lead you to the place where the eggs are laid. The jelly that encases the eggs also often shines in the torchlight, making it easier to spot.

How Long Does It Take For Slug Eggs To Hatch?

Slugs are surprisingly adaptive creatures, and eggs can adapt and take varying lengths of time before they hatch. Hatching largely depends on environmental and weather conditions.

Slug eggs that are laid in spring or summer generally take two to four weeks before they hatch.  Slug eggs that are laid in late fall or winter can take five to six months to hatch.

Can A Slug Fertilize Its Own Eggs?

Slugs are hermaphrodites – meaning they have both male and female reproductive organs. The result of hermaphrodism is that if needed, the slug can fertilize its own eggs. As a rule, to aid genetic variation and propagate the species, two slugs mate to produce fertilized eggs.

But if there was no other slug for reproduction, that one little slug could still cause you a host of problems.  It could still produce hundreds of little slugs nibbling away at your garden plants.

Slugs typically lay five hundred or more eggs a season. You can see why your slug problem can quickly become out of control. 

How Do I Get Ride Of Slug Eggs?

Getting rid of slug eggs manually is a tiresome business as you must play detective and find each of those pesky little balls. If you have no other choice, then you must find all the eggs and destroy them.

The easiest method of destroying slug eggs is to crush them with the heel of your gardening boot or a handy piece of log. If the eggs are on the soil, ensure you do destroy the eggs. Putting pressure on the eggs can just push them further into the ground, where they can remain moist and safe until they hatch. 

If you are a chicken owner, use your chickens to find and eat the slug eggs. Chickens are diligent and effective slug egg detectors and will gobble them up as a delicacy. Another animal that likes to eat slug eggs is fish. If you have fish, collect the slug eggs in a scoop and sprinkle them on the water of your fishpond.

You may feel swamped by the number of eggs and perhaps you do not keep poultry. Do not despair, you can liberally sprinkle diatomaceous earth onto your plant beds to deal with those troublesome slug eggs. Diatomaceous earth has sharp, rough pieces that cut up the eggs, and it also absorbs moisture, killing the baby slugs in the eggs.  

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Conclusion

Slugs are treacherous creatures that cause a great deal of damage to gardens. Their eggs are non-uniform round to oblong jelly-like balls that are generally laid in clumps. The eggs are surrounded by slimy gum that protects them. They can be found in moist, warm environments on the soil or under vegetation.

It is imperative to eliminate slug eggs and destroy the next generation of slugs that could ravish your garden plants. So, arm yourself with a torch, a pair of sturdy garden boots, and we will wish you happy slug egg hunting!

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Harold Thornbro

Author, Blogger, Podcaster, Public Speaker, Teacher, Homesteading and Permaculture Enthusiast. If You're Looking For Me, You'll Find Me In The Garden.

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