Slugs in the garden? Cheers!

Thanks to the continuing cool and wet weather, I’ve been finding unwelcome visitors to my garden.

slugs-blogSlugs love to feast on lush vegetation and our current wet weather is attracting them to my garden like never before. I’ve always heard about slugs, but I’ve never seen them in my typically dry garden until now.

Each morning I have to check for slugs on the container plants on my patio. I carefully look over each of my pepper plants to find the slimy things clinging to peppers, hiding under a leaf or casually lying on the soil. So gross!

These pests are 1-2 inches long and look like snails that have lost their shells. Slugs like damp garden soil and you know you have them if you see plant leaves with large holes chewed in them or holes in the fruits. It seems they’re especially fond of my jalapenos.

Slugs like to chow down at night so that’s the best time to set traps to get them. I’ve heard that iron phosphate baits are now available for gardeners who prefer an organic alternative to using metaldehyde baits.

If you prefer to use beer to bait traps, place the beverage in a shallow container to attract slugs to death by drowning.

A landmark study was conducted by Whitney Cranshaw to find the kind of beer that slugs would find most attractive. “Attractiveness of Beer and Fermentation Products to the Gray Garden Slug” shows slugs preferred the non-alchoholic Kingsbury Malt Beverage. They were also attracted to Budweiser products including Bud, Bud Light and Michelob.

The CSU Fact Sheet on Slugs provides additional information about slugs, including color photos of the kind of damage they leave behind. Other attractants and traps are explained, including placing moistened newspaper on the soil surface. Slugs will congregate under the newspaper and can be discarded each morning.

Are you finding pests or plants diseases you haven’t seen before because of the cool, wet weather? If so, please post a comment here.


 

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Comments

zap slugs with salt,instant.

Thanks for your comment, Jack. I agree that salt kills slugs, but it’s not recommended because it can negatively affect both the soil and the plants you’re trying to protect.

thanks for your comments,I forgot to mention that I only use this method on slugs crossing my garden pathway.keep up the good work.

You are absolutely right, Jack. This is a great use for salt in the garden!

Hi Jodi … sorry I’m a little late to this post. I have a rather novel way of dealing with slugs … we’ve had a bumper crop this year in the Northeast. To keep them from eating every seedling and small plant I had to go on Slug-fari. I explain here, http://www.joenesgarden.com/2009/07/on-slug-fari/.
When I set beer traps, I always use the cheap stuff.

Hi Joene: Thanks for posting about your Slug-fari–it sounds like you’re having a successful hunt. Your “slime-balls” comment cracked me up.

We are noticing a lot of holes in our jalapeno peppers as well. We didn’t have that problem last year. We’re also seeing way more holes in our tomatoes. I didn’t know what caused them until I saw one of the little slimy guys on a tomato – YUK! They aren’t as large as you mention – this one was only about .5 inches long, but definitely gray in color. They don’t seem to bother the green jalapenos, just the ones that are ripe or are turning. So I can put a shallow container of beer beneath the plants and this will attract them? I should have done a search for answers way before this. Thanks.

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