Opinions on "sluggo" Iron Phosphate slug bait??

topic posted Wed, July 12, 2006 - 5:25 PM by  Ix-a
Hi all,
Curious as to whether anyone knows some information about Iron Phosphate, specifically as a Snail and Slug toxin. It's sold as "sluggo" and is said to be safe around pets and kids. I don't use any chemicals in my garden currently, and would like to know people's opinions on how safe/toxic this stuff is. I have and do use many of the less toxic manners of controlling snails and slugs, including;
Diatomaceous Earth
Using drip lines to keep soil surface dry
Starting plants in flats and transplating when they are bigger (gives them a head start on the inevitable feeding of the slugs)
I am in a beach town, with very sandy "soil" that I have managed to build up over the last few years with composting and lasagna-style growing. It's remarkable how much soil can be improved in a relatively short time! Coconut peat is great stuff too, lots of water and air retention...

These slugs and snails are really getting to me...
Any opinions?
posted by:
  • Unsu...
    I felt cornered to use it this year. We had so much rain through June that slugs were eating everything. They are always around here (western WA) but they never bothered me till this year with all the rain. I spread it around the perimeter of my garden and the eating immediately stopped. Though I never saw any slugs around the garden after that either....
    Now it's been almost a month since I spread it and I saw one tiny ooday around my corn. I'm going to wait and see if the rain sticks, I really like it, less water to pay for, but when it's too much rain the slugs are really bad here.
    I have two dogs in my backyard. But my garden is fenced in also because they love to eat my vegetables and I wouldn't have any to eat if they could get to them. So i can't define the level safety for certain. but I used it this year for the first time, and I saw immediate results.
    • Me too. The snails ate all my first starts. They were all over. I was smashing them but it did no good. My local John Jeavons organic place sells sluggo and so I used it and the results were great. Apparently it IS a naturally occuring substance and so it's not as bad as the other kinds....I haven't used it in a while and I have a few nibblings going on but nothing like it was.
    • Unsu...
      I just realized I didn't use Sluggo, I used Lilly Miller "Worry Free" Slug Bait. But I think it's the same thing.
      Beer works really good too, except when it's raining a lot and they get filled with water instead! They make things you can put the beer in and have a lid on it though, just to make sure the rain doesn't get in, and you animals don't drink it.
  • Iron phosphate is fine. People take Iron sulfate as a supplement the both are safe though I wouldn't eat sluggo, but if your dog did, little would happen. They may get constipated or something but nothing like with nasty metaldehyde.
    • what about Hedgehogs?
      I have a couple of them patrolling my garden, helping slug control,-but my baby lettuces were munched to almost nothing after being released from their PET bottle cloches,-now I empty my beer traps daily,- (but those are getting to be expensive lettuces at this rate..)

      if this Iron Phosphate is Hedgehog friendly, I might like to give it a try too. How does it work?
      • Pie tins of beer used to work great for me against slugs and snails when I lived in CA (never seen a slug or snail in NV). They can't seem to resist and then they get dehydrated from all the alcohol they absorb.
        • oat bran sprinkled around the base of yer plants works sometimes, the slugs eat it, dry out and shrivel up
          • Thanks for the tips, all.
            I haven't tried the oat bran thing yet, sounds likely.

            I did try the Sluggo, and it has made a huge difference. I do know it is used as a fertilizer, but then again, that's not organic.
            If you have a big problem with the slugs and snails, the stuff works.
            And my cats are still alive too.
            • Well, not wanting to be the party pooper, I am adding this as a precautionary note only. After reading the posts here, I thought it sounded like none of us ( me included) knows whether the stuff is safe or not. I looked into rotenone with the same sort of trepidation. What I found was that rotenone is indeed highly toxic, altho it is considered an organic material. firstly, that it is organic simply means that it is from a plant source. That it's toxic is still a fact. In my search to find out what my peramiters were, I found that it can be used only as a secondary measure and then only if you don't eat the produce you sprinkle it on for a week. This is cool, but I can't use it as I deliver 1X a week so if it needs to be reapplied then I can't harvest that crop. I wish I could find that same source but couldn't. It was a list of pesticides accepted by organic standards. I looked under CCOF (Calfornia Certified Organic Farmers) and COABC (Certified Organic Associations of British Columbia) but couldn't find the same list.
              I think because it can be bought at an organic store it should be good but I'd still want to find out from the store what the guidlines to using it are.
              • "firstly, that it is organic simply means that it is from a plant source."

                Organic does not exactly mean it is from a plant source. Are rocks organic?
                • In this case, dear. sorry.
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.
                    Organic- of, relating to or derived from living matter.
                    • Oh, and yeah, some rocks would be considered organic. Sedimentary rocks are made of plant and animal matter.

                      Thing is, what organic means to us is not neccesarily what it means to those who're putting the products out. My statements were made solely to encourage ppl to look into what they're buying so that they use them properly.
                      • instead of sluggo, try kiddo!
                        I like to give pennies to the little neighbor kids ~ 1ยข per snail is generous when there are gazillions of them so be careful what your exchange rate is, as those kids can be ruthless snail hunters. we like to put them into gallon ziplock bags (just leave a small opening in the zip to put them in the bag whilst preventing them from escaping) so that they are "happier because they are cozy" as one 4-year-old put it. into the at-home cryo-death machine (aka freezer) once our bartering has been resolved! if any unexpected french dinner guests arrive, voila escargot as a handy snackage item, but otherwise, a less-messy death than death by squishing, less chemically than death by chemicalization, plus what's better in the garden than cheap child labor?! everyone wins! except the lowly gastropod that is.

                        I'm still working on training my minions to pick up the slimy "shell-less snail" aka the dread slug without getting eeked out...wish me luck!