Attack of the slugs! Easy ways to defeat them.

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog vertical 6 slugaSlugs will eat just about anything, including tomatoes. Photo by Doug Oster

I love the rain as chronicled in yesterday's blog post, but the slugs do too.

Warm temperatures and plenty of rain makes slugs happy.

They will eat just about anything and do their worst damage at night. 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.

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

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.

Diatomaceous 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. As a child, my radio partner Jessica Walliser was sent hunting at night with flashlight and rubber gloves. The kids in the neighborhood had a ball.

I used to gather them and use them as fishing bait, the carp and catfish loved them.

Slugs are a summer pest which can easily be controlled.

When things dry out, their populations will even off.




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