For those of you who garden and have been following my gardening posts, I wanted to share my challenge with slugs that I am having this year. I have a pretty popular type of garden slug. They are brownish green with a few black dots. They are very common. I believe the slug problems I am having are due to an inordinate amount of rain that we have been having in our area. We have so much rain there has been flooding in the area as well as issues with out septic system being full of water and not draining. The rain also means that so far many of my attempts at eradicating slugs have only worked for a day or two and the rain comes down so heavy and hard it washes away all of the repellents. So I am still searching for a really good slug solution. I at first I thought I could relocate them as I did not want to kill them but have found that they die anyway because the only place I have to relocate them far enough away from the garden is in a sandy soil area that removes their protective slime causing them to dry out and die. As much as I dislike it, I am going to have to kill them since they are eating my family’s food supply. My garden has never been in a mess like this before. Of course we haven’t had heavy rain for 4 months in a row before.
From what I have pulled together from many many online tips the best ways to eradicate slugs are as such:
- Putting out beer traps. To do this you put a small container in the ground and keep the rim 1″ above soil level. This prevents the beetles who eat slugs from falling in and dying. The beer attracts the slugs they go to take a drink they fall in and drown. (I tried this just last night but we had a huge thunderstorm all night so there wasn’t any beer left to attract them.
- Set out crushed egg shells around all of the plants you wish to protect. Wash up the shells and set out flat to dry. When they are completely dry, crush them up and put them in the desired area. (I have had some success with this method, I think I need to step it up a bit though and add more shells).
- Many folks are saying the only way to really get rid of slugs is to go out at night with a flashlight and turn over every leaf in your garden and pull the slugs off manually. Place them in a container with dish soap or rubbing alcohol to kill them. (I am thinking this may be my only hope. I think also if there is a place to relocate them you could just place them in a clean container and then relocate them to an area far enough away from the garden but to a place where they will thrive.) I suggest wearing gloves because their slime has a natural anesthetic property which I have found make my finger tingle. Also, because some slugs can carry a virus call “rat lungworm” which is harmful to humans. Be sure to wash your hands every time you touch slugs to prevent this.
- Some say to use salt, but then you have to be careful how much salt you are using because obviously our plants do not like salt.
- Some folks claim vinegar also kills slugs but I have yet to find detailed instructions. Is it pure vinegar and you spray it on the slug? Do you spray your plants? etc. etc.
- Coffee grounds sprinkled around the plants you want to protect has been working somewhat for me. Though you must be diligent and add new ground whenever it rains. (Which seems to be all the time now).
These are the most common natural ways to be rid of slugs. So far as I’ve said the coffee grounds and eggshells are working the best but not after heavy rain. So I am still going out every day on slug patrol. I think the only next logical step for me since I am out there every day anyway (and I have to waste beer) is to manually hunt and kill the slugs at night. I will let you know how it goes.
These fixes for slugs apparently also work on garden snails and while I have seen a few in my garden it is so far not an issue. (Knock on wood)
I implore those of you who have experience getting rid of slugs to please leave comments or email your tips and advice (or even just your support) to help us all learn ways to save our precious food crops from being decimated by slugs.