Vanisle_BC
Greener Thumb
Posts: 714
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2015 1:02 am
Location: Port Alberni, B.C. Canada, Zone 7 (+?)

Slug adaptability

On the subject of slugs getting through small spaces, I've seen one halfway through the tiny gap between the 2" thick boards of my raised bed; Fat slug-front-end on one side, fat slug-tail-end on the other, and something that must have been squished incredibly flat in between.

I've experimented putting captured slugs inside a circle of 3/4"copper tube to see if they would stay trapped there. Nope. They didn't like contacting it; would rear up and back off at first. But eventually steeled themselves and arched over it as best they could.
The terms of political discourse are not models of precision. - (Noam Chomsky)

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11261
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Slug adaptability

Slugs and snails can climb fences and trees, nothing is safe from them. Barriers do help but as you noticed snails are persistent.
What works best is to let their natural enemies take care of them. They still won't disappear, but they do a better job.

I buy a ton of slug bait because, I don't have a lot of snail predators. I have a few cannibal snails, but they eat each other too, and I don't see a lot of them around. Toads (I don't have any), chickens (hens only, roosters cause too many problems).

Chickens actually do a good job of controlling snails, slugs, grasshoppers, geckos, and other bugs, and they will eat a few earthworms too. When we had feral chickens in the garden, we only found snails and slugs under pots the chickens could not get to. However, roosters roam with their harems and they crow anytime day or night and they poop everywhere. You have to cover seedlings, they are especially fond of corn seeds and lettuce seedlings. They hide in the bushes in the daytime and fly up to the low branches of the trees to roost at night. They will also compete with the feral cats for cat food left by feral feeders.

The problem with using sluggo:
It is less toxic than methaldehyde but it only lasts a couple of weeks, slugs lay eggs every three weeks.Sluggo needs to be stored in a metal container because it also attracts rats and birds. They will eat it before the snails do and come back for more.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27736
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Slug adaptability

Yeah, another instance of considering not using pesticides and herbicides in case you are harming helpful Garden Patrol, I guess. When all is said and done, they are so much better at getting at the pests because they are as persistent in going after their prey. I'm reassured when I see a black ground beetle or a centipede (usually just one -- maybe they would eat each other if there were more than one) scuttle off to get away from the light when I lift up or move a pot.

Apparently predatory nematodes eat slugs, too. I've seen it mentioned when looking them up, but so far, only direct search results to them sold specifically FOR that purpose are U.K. sites. U.S. predatory nematode descriptions sort of make glancing mention of slugs if at all. So maybe not the same species.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27736
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Slug adaptability

From a 2005 article:
Slugs
https://oregonstate.edu/dept/nurspest/slugs.htm

They are more abundant after light rains and when night temperatures are above 50 degrees F (10 C). Many people use beer-baited slug traps made with plastic cottage cheese-type containers with lids, sunk into the soil and with one inch square holes cut in the sides at soil level. Leaving dead slug bodies in the traps may also attract slugs. Handle slugs with gloves as they may carry parasites potentially harmful to human health.

[...] cultural, biological, and chemical. [...] Predators include: small mammals, snakes, spiders, amphibians, birds, carnivorous beetles, other slugs, and humans. A predatory nematode, Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita, is being sold in Europe and Britain for slug control.

There are relatively few registered chemical controls for slug management. [...] heavy metals [...] lime to control slugs. The chemical age [...] carbamates. Carbamate insecticides used for slug control include carbaryl, metaldehyde (numerous products) and methiocarb (Mesurol). [...] Metaldehyde is destroyed by sunlight and water. [...] Both carbaryl and methiocarb in a bait greatly reduces populations of earthworms and predatory beetles. [...] Sluggo, of which the active ingredient is iron phosphate. [...] Sluggo performed statistically comparable with metaldehyde.

[...] coordinating baiting with the slug life cycle can achieve more effective results. According to Fisher, the best time to bait in non-irrigated cropping systems of western Oregon is in late September or early October, as the first rains occur. Slug activity increases as the cool temperatures and moist nights stimulate them to mate and lay eggs. This timing is key to disrupting the life cycle. [...] Small compact pellets are probably better than the larger and loosely compacted pellets after rains start in the fall.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

Return to “Organic Insect and Plant Disease Control”