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Slugs in Your Garden

Updated on March 30, 2021
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You've got bugs—Fred's got answers! Fred's Bughouse is your one-stop-shop for useful information about everything buggy.

Slug Pest Control: Tips and Tricks

Slugs are one of the most persistent pests in any garden. They may be slow, but in sufficient numbers slugs can do serious damage to all kinds of different garden plants. Slugs also have a number of fairly weird behaviors and features, including the ability to grow back parts of their bodies, and the fact that the sexes are a bit mixed up: slugs can have both male and female existing in one organism. But they also have a weakness for beer, which is one way to control them. This article has some ideas about how to control those slugs in your garden.


Shelter Traps for Slug Control

This method takes advantage of the slugs' habit of sheltering under rocks and logs during the day. If you have slugs in your garden, take a few boards and lay them in open spaces between the infested plants. Slugs will congregate under the boards, and in the morning you simply pick them up and dispose of the slugs any way you see fit. Slugs will be happy and useful in a compost pile, for example. Just make sure it's far away from plants you care about!


Using Beer to Control Slugs

Slugs, like many of us, are uncontrollably attracted to free beer. One interesting way to control slugs in your garden is to put out shallow containers of beer and wait a day or two. It doesn't need to be the good stuff -- in fact, the cheaper the better. Eventually the slugs will make their way into the container and drown, presumably happily, in the beer.

* Note -- do NOT drink the beer after the slugs have drowned in it.

A Little Slug Humor...

A guy was sitting at home watching TV when his doorbell rang. He opened the door to see a garden slug sitting there. "Stupid slug!" he shouted, and kicked it as hard as he could. The slug flew off the porch and landed in the yard. Satisfied, the guy went back to watching TV.

Three weeks passed, and the guy was watching TV again, and again the doorbell rang. He got up, answered the door, and there was the slug again. The slug looked up at the guy and said: "What was that for?"

Slug Pest Control: The Grapefruit Trick

This method is a little similar to the shelter trap. Assuming you like and eat grapefruit, have a few for breakfast. Then take the scooped-out halves and place them upside-down around your infested garden beds. Slugs like grapefruit, and will congregate inside the overturned half. In the morning, pick up the little slug huts and move everyone far from your plants.

This method also works with potatoes and other vegetables.

When to Call a Professional

If you've tried these home-based methods and slugs are still eating up your garden, then it may be time to call a company to come do what needs to be done. Before you commit, though, be sure to ask them exactly what substances they plan on using in your garden. Some insecticides, or, I suppose, slugicides, may not be what you want sprayed all over your fruits and vegetables.


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