Attack of the Killer Slugs July 02, 2015 13:52

Are you finding little holes or chew spots all over the leaves and buds of your flowers or vegetable plants? …I have some bad news for you…You have Slugs.
Yes, those little, slimy, shell-less-snail-looking, creatures that you find in the moist and dark spots around your yard. They can eat more than the hungriest rabbit and can destroy a garden in just a few days.

How do you get rid of those dastardly villains, you ask?  A couple of simple things to begin with…

  1. Make sure you have no hidden hiding spots around your garden or flowers beds such as… empty or over-turned pots…rocks or garden ornaments that offer cover from the sun.
  2. Remove any excess over grown vegetation in or around your growing area.
  3. Most importantly…DO NOT water at night. Always water in the mornings and leave your garden dry at night.  
  4. There are several “home remedies” that can be used to remove the slugs. The following will give you some ideas…

If those options are not enough to encourage the critters to move on, you’ll have to take more drastic measures.

  1. Bury a steep sided glass near your trouble areas and fill with beer or up to an inch and a half from the top of the glass. The little buggers will drown. Repeat every night until you don’t catch anymore.
  2. Take the rind of a half of a melon and place it hollow side down near your trouble area overnight. In the morning retrieve the melon rind. You should find it full of slugs (and maybe other unsightly creatures). Simply throw it away. Repeat until you are satisfied
  3. Although not as effective as the beer or the melon rind, cornmeal is another option. Put a tablespoon or two of cornmeal in a jar and lay it on its side near your infected areas. Keep the cornmeal dry, when the slugs eat it, and will kill them by expanding…just like rice will in birds.
  4. Make a barrier of Oak Leaf mulch or Tobacco Stem meal around your effected area or make Wormwood tea which is made from steeping Artemisia cuttings in warm water for 24 hours. Strain and combine with soapy water. This you can use to spray onto soil around your plants or even right on the slugs. You can also make a barrier with stripped copper wire. Wrap it around the troubled spots as a barrier deterrent for the slugs.

If you are not successful with those options you may want to consider introducing natural predators. 

  1. Ground beetles can be purchased in larvae form and distributed through your garden in early spring. The larvae will feed, enter their pupae, and emerge as adult beetles in the summer.
  2. Use birds to your advantage. Public enemy number one for slugs are birds such as ducks, chickens, robins, jays, etc. Entice the birds to nest in your garden by making nesting boxes in the thick of your garden, or offer bird feeders, and a bird bath.
  3. Nematodes are microscopic parasitic worms that live in soil. This can be extremely effective, but once all the slugs are gone, their predators will go too. You should reapply the nematodes every few weeks.

Good luck and happy gardening. If you have specific question that you want to ask the experts, just give us a call at the shop. We would love to talk with you.