This is an update to my slug-killing post from last year. During that time I’ve tried copper tape, garlic spray, attracting more birds, broken eggshells, and a host of other organic remedies. Just last week I saw this video on Paul Wheaton’s Permies site showing a large slug just cruising over the copper tape. I wish I had seen that before I spent the money.
So far, nothing works like BEER. I’ve heard wise people say, “You don’t have a slug problem, you have a duck shortage.” While this may be true, we’re not currently in a position to have ducks or chickens, so I have to find the next best thing.
Here are my three recommendations for slug reduction.
1. Sprinkling table salt on the patio and concrete near “high slug traffic” areas. Ok, a lot of people give me a hard time about this but I don’t know why. I just use a little bit of salt, and the grass near the sidewalk seems to be fine. I sprinkle a bit of salt around the base of pots that slugs are getting into, and the next morning I can see their little trail. Sometimes it just kills them, but often, like with very large snails, I can just follow the trail back to where they’re hiding.
2. Visual inspection of hiding spots. Slugs and snails like shady moist areas to spend the day time in. This last weekend I found fifty, yes, FIFTY large snails on the shade side of some large pots, and specifically the back side of a composter I had not looked behind for a while. Slugs love to hide on the bottom of pots in the grass where it’s cool. You can set out some pots in the grass or dirt with a little water sprinkled under them as a trap, then clean the slugs off into your composter the next day.
3. Nothing works like cheap beer. I have a small collection of glazed pot bottoms, the largest of which hold one beer each. Last night I put out three trays, which cost three beers (less than $1.50), and killed 80-90 slugs. This is FAR more effective, and much cheaper than any kind of toxic gick I could buy at the store, and it’s 100% safe.
I only have to do this every couple of months and the bulk of the slugs are vanquished. I’m not worried about a couple of stragglers – the plants can tolerate a few, and I’m sure they’re doing something beneficial for the live-soil and ecosystem.
In two days with about 30 minutes effort (mainly the smashing / squishing time), and $1.50, I removed around 130 slugs and snails from my small garden. I’m going to set trays out tonight on the other side of the yard and see what happens.
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This article (Slug Conqueror) is free and open source. It may be reprinted with permission under this Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License, with attribution to Brad Rowland and Highlyuncivilized.com. May 28th, 2012.