Slugs in my compost

Answered by Jo Posted in Category Composting

Dear Jo

I have a compost bin which sits on the ground and has a well fitting lid.  I get loads of huge fat slugs inside, all nicely cuddling up together in heaps on the top of the compost.  They collect round the rim of the lid too.  I have been told that slugs do not harm the compost, but I am not happy with them there.  I would be very glad of your opinion on these creatures.  How can I effectually get rid of then?  I don't feel it would be right to scatter slug pellets into the compost, but being quite low down, they are quite difficult to pick out.  I shall be very grateful for all tips and hints!!

Many thanks  

Greta Burditt

Dear Greta

You are right not to add slug pellets to your compost as these can kill the organisms that actually carry out the composting process. 

Slugs love compost bins and they can provide an ideal breeding ground for them.  However, because the compost bin is such a haven for them, they are quite happy living there and therefore are not interested in heading  further afield to your plants and veg.  In this respect they shouldn’t prove a problem in your garden.    Slugs are part of the process of compost making – they play a part in breaking down the material.  Many people actually throw slugs they find in the garden onto the compost heap/bin   as they are beneficial there!

I appreciate that they are not very nice (make my flesh creep!) and understand why you might not want them there.  If picking them out is not an option, you could try applying nemaslug to your compost heap.  This targets only slugs, so should leave the other beneficial organisms alone.  This needs to be applied every 6 weeks to moist soil/compost.  This will work on soil, but not on fresh material in the compost bin.

The final, most drastic alternative, would be to replace your bin with a sealed unit compost bin, such as a tumbler or hotbin, which could stop the slugs entering in the first place.

Good luck with your slug eradication.  Please let me know if you need any further help.

Kindest Regards


Jo Blackwell

Kitchen Gardener

Meet the Author: Jo Blackwell
Jo Blackwell

Jo Blackwell is our well-established Horticultural Advisor and the Kitchen Gardener in Stephanie's Victorian style Kitchen Garden. She caught the gardening bug when she bought her first home 21 years ago. Her first greenhouse soon followed and she later gained an allotment.

As well as tending the Harrod Horticultural Gardens, she enjoys maintaining her own vegetable plot at home. She has been a gardener for Harrod Horticultural for over 4 years now and has a wealth of experience in organic vegetable growing, ornamental gardening and in using all Harrod products.


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By kaela ro15th April 2018

mrs ro

Hi, I have lots of big slugs in my compost bin too and I remove as many as I can see by hand. However my main worry is, can I use the compost in my veggie patch? Or will I be putting compost into he veg patch that has slug eggs in it, therefore transferring a slug problem into the garden? Really appreciate your advice on this. Thanks. Slugs and snails are decomposer organisms that help break down the organic matter in the compost bin so the bin acts as a great feeding ground for them. - they usually keep moving up the bin to get to the fresh material, and eventually die of old age. Some slugs live only on rotting organic matter and so will have no desire to leave the compost bin in search of living greens. Some people worry that when they spread the finished compost, they will spread around slug eggs, however, it's more likely these will be predated on in the compost bin or will decompose as they become compressed within the heap.

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