Aug 20 2009

No Pictures This Time—You’ll Thank Me

We’ve been seeing some shiny slug trails on the patio lately, but when Pepper’s dog food was shiny one morning, I decided something needed to be done about it.  There seem to be a lot of them this year, maybe due to the cool, wet weather.  I suspect they’re also responsible for the holes in the cabbage leaves, since I haven’t seen any cabbage worms.

I’d always heard that the way to kill slugs was to put out a bowl or something full of beer.  I looked it up on the Interwebs, and sure enough, everyone says you just put out a container of beer, and they come to drink it and drown in it.  No one said anything about how much beer or how large a container, so it seemed like it must be pretty foolproof.

So I drank half a beer and dumped the other half into a gallon bucket and left it out where the dogfood usually sits.  Zero slugs the next morning.  Maybe the beer wasn’t deep enough for them to drown.  So the next night I added another full beer; that looked like it should do the trick.  Still no slugs the next morning.  Could it be that they don’t like light beer?

Last night I filled the bucket up the rest of the way with water.  I figured it should still smell like beer enough to attract them, and it would definitely be deep enough to drown them.  I went out about midnight this time to see how it was going.  Sure enough, there were a few hanging onto the edge of the bucket and drinking, and a few more heading that direction at top slug speed.  I didn’t see any signs of drowning, though, so I got a pair of tongs (you really, really don’t want to touch a slug with your bare skin) and picked them up and dropped them in the watery beer.  By the time I got to the last one, the first ones were already crawling out!

Ok, so either the drowning part is a myth, or they won’t drown in watery beer.  Or our slugs are especially good swimmers.  So I got them all back in and put another bucket on top for a lid.  When I checked it again this morning, some were clinging to the bottom of that bucket, so they can climb out of anything.  The only way they’re going to “drown” is if they’re too drunk to climb out, I guess.

I thought they’d be a fancy breakfast for the chickens, but Marek and the girls didn’t want anything to do with beer-soaked slugs.  I don’t know if they were turned off by the beer smell, or if slugs are just so gross even chickens won’t touch them.  That was disappointing, but at least they won’t be sliming the dog food and eating the cabbage leaves anymore.

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  • John says:

    Our chickens love slugs, they chase each other around and fight over them. We have the giant spotted slugs everywhere. We pick them out of their hiding places and throw them in the chicken coop. There seems to be no end to them.

    We tried the beer thing too and it only worked moderately well. I’ve also heard if you surround your garden with copper they won’t cross it. That would only work with raised beds though.

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    • Aaron says:

      I think tonight I’ll try just catching some and saving them until morning, in case the chickens were turned off by the beer odor or the fact that they were already dead.

      As far as keeping them out of the garden goes, I’ve heard diatomaceous earth works too. Basically anything abrasive that they won’t want to crawl over. Salt would work, but you’d have to be careful using it around plants.

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  • Michael S says:

    Turtles ? slugs

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  • There’s some poison you can buy that you shake into the grass kinda like a barrier that they eat that kills them. Or, if you don’t like poison, get a big bag of rock salt and shake it out into the grass to make a barrier that they won’t cross. If you happen to catch a slug out, shake some salt on him for fun!

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