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Organic slug control

Jun 18, 2013 -
   
  Organic slug control
Tricia made a trap for catching slugs in her organic garden.
 
   

There’s no silver bullet for getting rid of slugs. You need to combine the classic Integrated Pest Management [IPM] techniques of cultural, mechanical, and chemical controls. Does that sound too academic? It’s actually very practical. And some of it involves wearing your bathrobe in the garden.

Watch Tricia control slugs with the full range of organic methods.
hunt for slugs at night

Monitor on night patrol

Hang out in your garden and look for unwanted visitors—at night, as well as in the daytime. When the sun’s out, look for the silvery trails of slugs. When the moon’s out, get your flashlight and go on a slug hunt. In the great garden cycle of life and death, slugs are a tasty treat for any backyard chickens you know.

Remove the Welcome mat

Back in daylight, close up happy hiding places when you take away scraps of wood or cardboard, clean out weeds and debris, and pull up all that ivy (rats love to nest in ivy, too) and other dense groundcovers.

Get into drip irrigation

Yes, one more reason to install drip irrigation. Slugs don’t want to cruise over dry soil, they want damp slickness. Overhead watering creates the moist surfaces that make life go so very smoothly for slugs.

safer ant& crawling insect killer to prevent slugs

Get rough, and grow plants slugs hate

Make things rough for slugs instead. If you got around on a delicate, slimy foot you wouldn’t want to travel over shredded cedar bark or cocoa shells. Sprinkle sharp-edged Safer Ant & Crawling Insect Killer around plants to thwart the slugs’ progress; this product is labeled for slug control and contains diatomaceous earth along with bait.

Leaves can be rough too, and slugs really don’t want to move across rosemary, lavender, California poppies, and nasturtiums.

Slug traps, and bait that won’t harm pets

Our organic Slug Saloon (labeled for slug control, naturally) comes with liquid bait (made from sugar water, brewer’s yeast, and malted grain flour) to catch nearby slugs.

You can deploy copper wire like our woven copper slug shields, which are labeled for slug control. The copper reacts with the slug mucus and causes disruption to the slug’s nervous system, similar to the slug being electrocuted.

Want to be non-violent and put up a slug fence? Reminiscent of the popular fairy gardens, you can make a tiny slug fence out of window screen, sink one edge into the soil, and leave the other edge 4” above ground level. The trick here is that slug mucus oozes through the mesh of the screen and the slugs run out of traction as they attempt to climb their way into your vegetable patch.

A simple trap is a 6” piece of smooth wood or cardboard. The slugs will enjoy hiding there, so flip this every few days to find slugs.

If you want to chemically kill the slugs (but not your pets or the other wildlife) with iron phosphate, scatter around Sluggo granules or the other Sluggo products—all are labeled for slug control.

There are lots of slugs in your garden, and you’ll need to use lots of techniques to deal with them.

Strap on your head lamp tonight, and get started on a variety of methods for organic slug control.


Categories: Organic Pest Control, Diatomaceous Earth, Insect Trap, Insect Control, Organic Gardening 101


Ben Gabus Says:
Jun 22nd, 2013 at 10:19 am

Sluggo can also be placed in the middle of a short length of PVC pipe (anywhere between one inch and three inches and lain on the ground where you have infestations.  The pipe will give them a nice cozy, dark refuge and keep the bait safe from rain and pets. Check two to three times a week.

Jennifer Says:
Jun 22nd, 2013 at 11:24 am

Great suggestions!  Also check out Slug Shield - it is non-toxic and lasts all season without maintenance.

Rosie Says:
Jun 22nd, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Beer traps???  I have found more than a few slugs in my beer traps.  Any studies done on that?

Gale Green Says:
Jun 23rd, 2013 at 12:42 am

Hi: Here’s a couple tips on snail control—we don’t have slugs, but snails are just the same (I think) except they carry their home on their backs like turtles. Anyway, no, the copper wire thingy you sell isn’t the only mechanical control on the market. Lee Valley sells a roll of flat copper ‘tape’ that you can use to either make collars to put around individual plants, or surround a whole raised bed, etc. AND I’ve discovered at the dollar store, a couple of copper scrubbies for pots and pans (that look like a little old lady’s hair ‘bun’) are 2/$1 here. Unroll them, pull them out full length, and partially straighten a large size paper clip to fasten them into the ground. Snails won’t cross!! There’s some kind of electrical/chemical reaction when their slime hits the surface, and they don’t like its roughness either.  I’m also experimenting with double sided tape—stick it to the surface of a raised bed top edge, then press diatomaceous earth onto the top sticky and snails wont cross that either!

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Jun 24th, 2013 at 11:07 am

Ben, Thanks for that helpful tip!

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Jun 24th, 2013 at 11:07 am

Jennifer, Yes, we like Slug Shields too. Nothing washes away http://www.groworganic.com/slug-shield-size-12-6pk.html

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Jun 24th, 2013 at 11:35 am

Rosie,

Yes! University of Rhode Island recommends the beer-in-the-pie-tin trick http://www.uri.edu/ce/factsheets/sheets/slugs.html

Anita Oleksy Says:
Jun 24th, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Snails are destroying my Hostas, growing where it’s too shady to grow the plants you mention that they hate. Would trimmings of those plants used as a mulch be helpful? I have lots of Rosemary (big, happy plants plus volunteers).

Franchot slot Says:
Jun 26th, 2013 at 11:24 am

The tape works good but only lasts a season and it’s kind of pricey.  I put copper tubing around raised beds and it lasts for years and years.  I buff it up at beginning of season.  Only the little tiny guys get through the cracks or they were born in the compost.  I use a lot less of the sluggo then which I’ve found the slugs start to laugh at when it is used consistently.

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