Why does salt melt slugs? 

In this article, we will answer the question “Why does salt melt slugs?”, and how does salt kill slugs?

If you are reluctant to use salt to get rid of slugs, there are other ways you can use to kill them. Read on to know more about the best slug-killing alternative methods.

Why does salt melt slugs? 

Salt does not melt the slugs, it reacts with the slime on their body and forms a saline solution that with the help of osmosis kills the slugs by drying out their bodies. 

When you pour salt over the slugs you will notice that apparently, their body melting, bubbles appear and then they shrivel and die. It does not melt but reacts destructively causing their eventual death. 

How does salt kill slugs?

Slugs have a very thin membrane over their body. In other words, they have paper-thin skin. So, when salt is sprinkled onto this membrane, the water in the cells of the body is forced to move towards an area of higher salt concentration.

This phenomenon is called osmosis. Due to this process, most of the water from the body of the slug leaves, leaving the slug extremely dehydrated. The bubbles that appear on the body are due to dehydration of the body. 

When there is no water in the body of a slug, its body tries to produce more slime as a protective shield. This slime appears in the form of white foam or frothing and that seems as if the slugs are melting. 

So, when these two processes take place, the slugs become severely dehydrated making the slug shrivel to death. 

You might wonder why doesn’t human skin behave in the same way? It is because human skin is not as permeable as the skin of a slug. 

Do slugs feel pain?

The jury is still out on this one. A very little research has been made on this theory as it is hard to study the stimuli receptor response of the slug. Some theories support that slugs do not feel any kind of pain because they don’t have a nervous system. 

The sensation of pain is caused by the conscious region of the brain and slugs do not have any brain or nervous system so it is impossible for them to feel pain by salt or any other means. 

Some other theories provide that there is evidence of pain responses in sea slug and whether they experience pain or not, pouring salt causes them extreme distress and death. 

The jury’s still out when it comes to how slugs and snails experience this unpleasant sensation, but there’s a good chance they don’t like it. 

Is sprinkling salt the best way to kill slugs?

Some recommend that you should use salt only when their growth is out of control and they are threatening your farm or crops. 

Otherwise, this is the devil’s way to kill any animal this way. Secondly, after salt treatment, they produce a hell of slime that is not so welcoming thing for most people. 

There are other alternative methods too that are humane and easier to apply like beer traps, handpicking methods, poison baits, and other chemical controls. All of these methods are briefly discussed below.

Alternative methods to kill slugs

Plant accordingly

Slugs and snails attack plants that are very small and young or very low growing. So if you have a garden and don’t want slugs in it then try to plant more slug-resistant crops to avoid their presence. 

Slug traps 

There are many ways to make a trap for slugs but the best trap is the “Beer Trap”. Take a can of beer and fill it in half and place it where you see the slugs. 

The slug will enter the can and drink the beer from it it finally dies. It is important to replace the can every once in a while. Moreover, you must also clean the can after discarding the dead slugs. 

Hand-picking method

Slugs and snails are not very high-paced animals, they can easily be picked with hands wherever they are found. This method is proved most effective and useful to get rid of them. 

Inspect your plants for slugs and snails a few times per week and, when you find them, pick them and drop them off into a bucket of soapy water (or a 5-10% ammonia solution). This will quickly kill them. Alternatively, you can crush them and leave the remains for the birds. 

Conclusion

In this article, we answered the question “Why does salt melt slugs?”, and how does salt kill slugs?

References

https://insectcop.net/what-does-salt-do-to-slugs-snails/  https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/80997/why-does-salt-kill-slugs  https://www.sciencefocus.com/nature/why-does-salt-kill-slugs/  https://www.greenmatters.com/p/why-does-salt-kill-slugs 

Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.