Sunday, May 27, 2018

14 Jun

Slugs, Slugs and even more Slugs!

All the wet weather this week may have been great news for the gardens and farms but it has caused a plague of slugs to enter my garden. So this week I have researched extensively the most effective way to tackle my slug problem for me and my garden.

I do have a carton of blue slug pellets which I have been using and have been successful with, however I have a number of concerns about this toxic method which has lead me on my path for an alternative control.

My main reason for the dislike of these blue pellets is primarily the children. My daughter has reached the very inquisitive stage and in true 18 month old fashion she will pick up anything colourful and interesting and put it in her mouth. Luckily she hasn’t taken any interest in the slug pellets YET but I do not want to leave it to chance any longer.



So I started thinking about other ways of ridding my garden of these disgusting slimey creatures but the only problem with killing them is then the removal which I find almost stomach churning. I also had a major problem with flies after a successful killing session from the slug pellets which I found just as off putting as the dead slugs and snails.

One of the most well known methods of natural as opposed to chemical killing is the beer method. Slugs are attracted to the yeast in the beer and by submerging some beer in a container into the ground the slugs will be lured in into the beer and will drown. I have a couple of concerns with this method and so have ruled it out. Firstly I cannot envisage for one second that my husband would volunteer any of his beer for this slug fight. As he is not a gardener and does not see the devastation that these pests can bring to my newly planted out petunia’s and begonia’s I think he will object when I whip away his can of fosters just as soon as it reaches his mouth with me stating that it is ‘All for nature dear’. My other issue with this method goes back to the stomach churning part of removing these bloated things and where to put the dead bodies.

I have heard that coffee dregs can also acts as a good method of control and was all set to go down to my local coffee shop at the end of the day and proudly come back with a bag full of used coffee grounds. Again I have ruled this method out as although the caffeine content acts as a deterrent for the slugs, it can affect the plants causing the leaves to turn yellow. There is the option to spray the plant with a cup of coffee on a daily basis but this seems very time consuming and will certainly not be done with my best ground coffee.

My next thought was for a trail of bran around the plants. I read that the slugs love to feast on this and literally feed themselves to death. But again this leaves me with the job of collecting and discarding the dead.

So, I have decided that I cannot bring myself to commit any killing spree on my slugs and will have to work with them instead of against them. I am going to try and deter them from my garden by making it as slug unfriendly as I possibly can.

Why on earth would I want to keep these pests alive when we are absolutely plagued by them?

I have looked into their purpose in natures society and now realise that they could potentially serve a number of helpful purposes. They are good in breaking down decaying matter and therefore help with my compost bin, which is where I would prefer to see them rather than on my plants. They also provide food for the birds, so I see this as one of my bids to help the many garden birds that are joining the list of endangered species. And finally, they help disperse seeds and spore which as a free way of introducing different plants to my garden must surely be a good thing.

Knowing how much they love the damp I am going to try and create a wet leaf mulch at the back of my flower beds where there is nothing growing. I hope that introducing this food for them they will be deterred from venturing into the open space and chomping on my newly planted flowers.

I know that they also do not like to travel over dry, dusty or scratchy surfaces as they have to produce a lot of slime which tires them out. I have a holly tree in my garden which is constantly shedding its holly leaves. I am hoping that by placing this around my plants a natural deterrent will be made.

By exposing them to their natural predators, toads, hedgehogs and birds I can decrease the number of slugs. Unfortunately to bring toads into my garden I would have to build some sort of wildlife pond or water container which doesn’t link into my ‘child friendly’ garden. I will have to rely on my good neighbour’s pond to bring in the toads instead.

Hopefully my wet leaf mulch will provide a good habitat for hedgehogs too, as they will happily feast on the slugs and help in their decline.

Slug control part i

Slug control part I

I spent a glorious Saturday morning creating my slug defence barrier by using some stones, holly and lots of leaves and also a can of WD40! The WD40 has been sprayed on the stones to make them slippery and hopefully very difficult for the slugs to get a grip.

Slug control part ii

Slug control part II

So Sunday has arrived and despite the aromas of WD40, all my plants seem to be intact. There is not a trail of a slug or snail insight and the number of flies has been dramatically reduced. I am hoping that this is not just coincidence but will have to report back next week. Fingers crossed!!



15 Comments on "Slugs, Slugs and even more Slugs!"

  1. msbeeee on Sun, 14th Jun 2009 7:01 pm 

    Using diatomaceous earth or DE as it’s called will work. Use food grade DE which is safe around pets and people (be careful not to breath in dust when applying though). The DE dries out slugs and keeps them from reproducing. Works great for all kinds of garden pests. The best site online or you may be able to find it locally at feed and grain stores.

  2. Sharon Willis on Sun, 14th Jun 2009 8:25 pm 

    It’s been great keeping abreast of all your gardening news and thank you for all the tips. I can’t wait to read your blogs each time as I am also a female gardener caught up in the demands of life. I find it very therapeutic when I’m in the garden and it’s good to know that every little helps!

  3. Lilymom on Sun, 14th Jun 2009 8:32 pm 

    This is a very timely article for me as we have had a lot of rain and slugs have been destroying my young sunflower seedlings. I also have the aversion to killing pests and have done very little except move them to another area of the yard. Good luck with your “relocation plan” for them. :)

  4. Mr Cold Frame on Mon, 15th Jun 2009 2:11 pm 

    I have never heard of anyone using WD40 for slug control – very inventive! I don’t think I would want it too close to my vegetables though.

    This year I have been using nemaslug to rid myself of slugs ( and thus far it seems to have been hugely successful.

  5. Poppy Green on Thu, 25th Jun 2009 7:54 pm 

    I get rid of the slugs in my garden by scattering crushed egg shells all round the borders, so far this year it seems to have worked

  6. W.Cook on Thu, 25th Jun 2009 8:30 pm 

    Never mind your daughter,what about all the birds you kill with your slug pellets and poisoned slugs? They die in agony as do the slugs!
    And you are connected with a company that sells bird food!

  7. John Curd on Thu, 25th Jun 2009 9:31 pm 

    What about salt? No bodies to be disposed of either.

  8. Josie Dixon on Fri, 26th Jun 2009 5:31 am 

    I have also successfully used Nemaslug and have arranged a 6 weekly supply through to October. There aren’t any dead bodies lying around, I’m assuming that the birds, hedgehogs etc.. have taken them as Nemaslug is harmless to them.
    I also found a product called Slug Off, in my local garden centre, which is a granular product and provides a physical barrier around seedlings etc but does disperse over time. This gave them protection until they had established and while the Nemaslug was taking effect. Sug Off is a natural product and biodegrades into the soil with no ill-effects.

  9. Maria on Fri, 26th Jun 2009 10:02 am 

    I have used nematodes for 2 years. (Nemaslug). The slugs die underground so no bodies, If you put them on from around March to October, you will catch the young. I haven’t seen one slug in my garden this year and all my hostas have grown which is a first.

    This beats all other methods every time, hands down. The only downfall is if you have hedgehogs in the garden they can develop lungworm that can literally choked them to death. So make sure you know what wildlife you have in your garden first.

  10. Anne Walker on Fri, 26th Jun 2009 10:11 am 

    I have really enjoyed reading all your preventions. I have always been plagued with snails as the whole of my back garden is on a hill with flags on bricks, so they can hide and breed abundantly. I did once try slug pellets, years ago, but I am trying to encourage many and different birds, hedghogs and frogs into the garden, so don’t use that, beer traps no good. I will try some of your suggestions. I have covered all my young plants with fleece, carried them up 14 steps each day, balanced them on the bird feeder tray, covered them with plastic bottles, with marginal success, anything. The fleece works ok as long as I tuck in the edges or clip with a clothes peg.

  11. Neville Allcorn on Fri, 26th Jun 2009 4:04 pm 

    No one has mentioned a copper barrier around plants susceptible to slug damage. An adhesive-backed copper tape is widely available in garden centres which you can stick around pots, but keep them off the ground, and not in close contact with other unprotected plants, which the slugs can use to cross over. I have successfully grown lettuces in growbags which I support on a frame made from copper pipe – your local plumber should be able to assemble one in a few minutes if you are unfamiliar with joining pipework. The slugs will not cross copper as they get a mild electric shock (NO electricity is involved) because of the inherent properties in the copper, they just go somewhere else. No harm done to anyone or anything as far as I’m aware.

  12. Naomi on Fri, 26th Jun 2009 4:30 pm 

    Beer traps can work very effectively without causing harm to pets or wildlife and have found to be most successful at trapping slugs when covered. For example, if you were to use a jam jar: dig a small hole amongst effected plants and place your jar inside. Pour a couple of inches of beer into the jar and cover with a stone leaving a gap for the slugs to climb in. Submerging and covering the jar has proved to be far more effective, you should find your trap fully occupied with drunken slugs in the morning which can then be disposed of however you wish.

  13. Pamela Le Bailly on Fri, 26th Jun 2009 5:06 pm 

    I do agree with Poppy Green. I collect egg shells whenever we use eggs, and keep them on a tin tray in an unused oven, so they gradually dry off. Then throw them in the blender or crush with a rolling pin, and store in plastic containers. I do this through the year, and then use as required in Spring. Sprinkled thickly round vunerable plants they do seem to keep the little b—–s off!

  14. Alan Derrett on Tue, 30th Jun 2009 5:18 pm 

    John Curd says why not salt to kill slugs? Contrary to belief salt isn’t a reliable slug killer! After experimenting I found that salt only kills about 30% of the blighters. I poured salt on an experimental group of 6 slugs the immediate effect was that each slug curled up in a ball of frothy slime. Dead you may say. Job done! Not quite because when I returned less than half hour later (not many do) the 4 largest slugs had left their frothy cocoons and crawled away very much alive if perhaps a little groggy! Of course they didnt get far because Im a gardner whose not as squeamish as some about dispatch and disposal.

  15. Christine Dockerty on Sun, 5th Jul 2009 9:27 pm 

    In other words the slugs are here to stay? They eat snails in France (delicacy I believe??) so can someone not invent a fantastic recipe for those damned slugs? (A recipe, by the way, that I will not be trying!) Gordon Ramsay, that Heston-Blumentall(whatever) bloke (who does strange things with ice cream) where are you when gardeners need you?

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