Battle of the slugs!

Written by Doug Oster on .

Slugs eat just about any plant in the garden, including tomatoes. Photos by Doug Oster

Warm weather and rain have caused an explosion of slugs for many gardeners.

They spend the day hidden under mulch or in the soil and emerge at night to feed.

One indication of slug damage is the silver, slimy trail they behind.

The pests love hostas, but will feed on many other plants. They are especially devastating on small, newly sprouted plants which can be wiped out overnight.

The easiest control is an organic bait like Sluggo or Escar-Go. These use iron phosphate as their main ingredient. It kills the slugs specifically, and doesn't negatively affect the environment. Chemical slug baits use metaldehyde which can attract mammals. Dog, cats, raccoons ect. can be harmed by those pellets.

Of course there are lots of other ways to deal with slugs.

Trapping works well. Put a dish of stale beer at ground level and the slugs will crawl in and drown. A grapefruit rind works well too as the pest is attracted to the rind and the beer. The traps need emptied every couple days.

Slugs will not cross copper as it has a natural electric charge. Fine wire placed around the plants forms a barrier.

Diatoomaceous earth is sharp on the microscopic level. The slugs crawl over it and they are punctured by the DE and then die.

Some people use crushed eggshells or sharp construction sand around their plants as slugs don't like to crawl across either.

Hand picking (with gloves) is a very effective way of controlling slugs.

Slugs are a summer pest which can easily be controlled.

Slugs are pretty easy to control.




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