Slugs! They are a constant pain in the neck (and pocket) when trying to grow your own vegetables and fruit…..
These slippery suckers seem to get in to my greenhouse even more frequently when the late Summer and Autumn evenings get cooler and the dew gathers fast on the greenhouse glass.
So, this post is to encorage advice sharing – Any tips very welcome Allotment Growers 😉
Obviously there are the standard blue pellets, which do a job no doubt, but are there other ways to control snails and slugs that;
A – Don’t cost as much.
B – Are easier on the environment (birds hedgehogs etc that eat the pests).C – Don’t require constant topping-up and attention.
Killing Slugs with Salt
Salt is something that generally we all have to hand at home. So, used as a barrier around plants / affected areas or applied to the slimly pest directly salt kills slugs very fast.
Salt kills the slug or snail due to two facts; (1) Osmosis, water passing from one area of high water content to an area with less water. (2) Dehydration, slugs and snails are made up of a lot of water, so, when salt comes in to contact with them the high concentration of water in their bodies is drawn very quickly out of them, result in pretty instant dehydration and death.
One downside of using salt (other than the mess) is that it is not very plant friendly either, high concentrations of salt in your soil can take many years to reduce / disperse.
Beer and/or Milk Slug Traps
Slug traps that use beer or milk to lure the pests in to the liquid, where essentially they drown. Jam jars or similar are placed in to the soil, leaving a little of the container proud of the surface to try to avoid beetles and other insects going in, then simply add beer or milk.
There are a few downsides to this method, the cost of the bait liquids, the smell of stewing slugs and snails and also the accidental death of animals that you don’t want to kill falling in to the liquid.
Cornmeal / Bran Feeding
Putting out dry oatmeal and/or bran for the slugs to eat (instead of your plants) in a jam jar or similar container, placed on it’s side. Slugs and snails can’t resist gorging themselves on the food and this has the effect of drying them out, eventually exploding when they eat too much.
Having a few oatmeal feeding stations dotted around the allotment or garden, concetrating on high damage locations, will lead to a sharp reduction in slugs, slug damage and an increase in dead greedy pests!
Manual Torch Light Round Up
This is not for the squeamish! Slugs end up being hunted down with the use of a torch (night is when they are most active) and impailed on a pin, nail or any other sharp implement attached to a stick or pole. To be as humane as possible it is probably best to have a bucket of hot, well salted water to hand to deposit the bodies in after they have been picked up on your spike, to ensure they are finished off ASAP.
Numerous different substances can be used to surround plants and seedlings to try to deter slugs and snails. The main issue with the barrier method is that it only deals with the surface dwelling slugs, the burrowering kind will easily navigate under the barrier. All that sai if barriers are used in conjunction with other methods the infestation levels are bound to reduce.
Some popular barriers are;
The barrier method makes it physically difficult for the pests to cross over without the substance irritating the slug, getting stuck to the animal or interfearing with and drying out their mucous glands, needed for movement.
Hopefully there is a method or idea you haven’t tried yet, if you have slug problems we reccommend using more than one method to double up on the effort to save your plants from these slimy munching machines….
Please share and leave comment with anymore ideas you have and we will share them with everyone.