Oboegirl
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Nematodes vs Diatomaceous Earth to beat Slugs?

We just put our plants in the ground 2 weeks ago and already we've got a major infestation of slugs. They have taken out our bok choy almost complety :evil: and they have spread throughout our lettuces and asian greens. After doing research, I'm thinking that the nematodes would get rid of the buggers and the diatomaceous earth would help keep them contained to where they are? I would hate it if they moved to my other bed and got my broccoli and peppers! If anyone has any advice on how to eliminate these pests we would surely appreciate it!

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skiingjeff
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Re: Nematodes vs Diatomaceous Earth to beat Slugs?

I don't think anyone has ever eliminated them whereas the answer is to control them and deter them from your plants. The DE works well from the many posters who use it. Some of us also use Sluggo, which is iron phosphate. Both are not harmful to plants and veggies.

Many of us also hunt during the night time with flashlights to capture and drown them in various solutions from soap to beer. They do love beer and if you leave low containers of beer in the pathways or outside the garden, they will be attracted to it and commit suicide.

There are tons of posts on slugs providing lots of information and ways to control them if you just do a quick search.

Good luck! :)

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Nematodes vs Diatomaceous Earth to beat Slugs?

Thanks, oboegirl! I had never heard of nematodes against slugs before. Apparently there is a nematode that is parasitic on slugs: http://www.slugoff.co.uk/killing-slugs/nematodes

Note that is a UK website. I didn't check to see if they are available commercially here. If so, it seems like a really good solution, because so harmless.

The Sluggo is controversial in organic gardening. It is OMRI certified and many people use it. Some people say that the Sluggo is actually toxic to earthworms and to pets if they eat it (and the active ingredients are in wheat to get the slug to eat it, so other animals will also). The claim is the iron phosphate that is listed as the active ingredient and is non-toxic is mixed with EDTA. The combination is what is is toxic both to the slugs and to other animals. http://www.cloudforest.com/cafe/gardeni ... t3846.html

This thread in an aquarium forum http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/genera ... -safe.html has a whole discussion about it, including if you scroll down enough responses from Sluggo makers who were queried about it. As I read it, their response basically comes down to it is safer than metaldehyde (whch people used to use before the iron phosphate products came out). I have no doubt that is true. But it is certainly not safer than targeted snail parasites.
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applestar
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Re: Nematodes vs Diatomaceous Earth to beat Slugs?

Fireflies are also natural slug predators:
:arrow: Subject: FIREFLY, Garden Patrol Snails and Slugs Specialist

In my garden, wild birds like grackles and recently bluejays also hunt for slugs :() (ducks are supposed to love them as do toads)

...I'd never heard of nematodes specifically for slugs either, though I thought the beneficial nematodes generally do eat slug eggs. I'll have to go read the website @rainbowgardener linked.
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.

imafan26
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Re: Nematodes vs Diatomaceous Earth to beat Slugs?

If you find anything that can get rid of slugs and snails permanently, I'd like to know.

I battle them constantly. I got 4 African snails and one slug yesterday while I was weeding. I do use sluggo especially around younger plants, or I wouldn't have any. I have tried to barrier around the beds and benches to isolate them. I have had to cut back the lemon tree and the plants closest to the bench because the snails will drop down from them too. Sluggo is an iron compound and eventually will breakdown. It is safer than methaldehyde, although methaldehyde works faster. Sluggo is usually not attractive to dogs as it does not look like dog food. Sluggo does get sticky when it is wet. When I do use methaldehyde, I do try to put it in an empty pot turned on its side in a dark spot rather than on the ground.

Copper strips also work as a barrier, but it is expensive and it premises that what is inside the barrier is slug and snail free.

I had good results using hair from the barber shop and I have used crushed eggshells and had some luck with that.

Birds will eat slugs and snails, but my birds would rather eat my tomatoes, papaya, peppers, orchid buds, and now I caught a finch snacking on my kale too. They will eat slugs and snails after I have killed them. The geckos would rather eat earthworms, but I suspect they are also the reason why I don't have caterpillars or many beetles in the garden either.

At the garden, we had good slug and snail control with chickens. The only slugs we found were under the pots where the chickens could not get to them. However, once they trapped and removed all the chickens, the slugs were back.

Chickens pose other problems as well. They poop over everything and they will eat seedlings, especially lettuce, so a wire cage was constructed to fit over the seedling tray to keep the hens off.

Roosters crow in the middle of the night so their were complaints about that. When the staff tried to trap the chickens, people stole the traps and other people would come to the fence and fed the chickens. The chickens were mostly abandoned in the garden by their owners. Hens are not bad they are territorial. The roosters caused most of the problems because they make the most noise and they roam. With a single hen and no rooster there were eggs but no chicks and she used to wait for the guys to drive in everyday for them to feed her, until someone stole her.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

imafan26
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Re: Nematodes vs Diatomaceous Earth to beat Slugs?

I tried diatomaceous earth. I don't know if it helps. It becomes ineffective once it rains and it can rain every day here, so not really practical.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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applestar
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Re: Nematodes vs Diatomaceous Earth to beat Slugs?

@imafan, I would think you would have better access to volcanic pumice or gravel or ... Don't you call it "cinder"? ..which should be just as grating on their sluggy body. You probably want the kind that is more glass shard-like.

This year, I found a small local furniture maker who is offering huge bags of Douglas fir shavings for $3 each (and they assured me they are constantly producing these shavings... Presumably since they have to run their stock lumber through the planer before using them). I have been liberally mulching with them and found that the slugs are not all that happy about trying to crawl over them when dry... And they dry fairly quickly on the surface.

BTW I also noticed that while the shavings were fresh and still smelled like pine trees, the cabbage butterflies had trouble recognizing the cabbages and other brassicas -- they would come fluttering down probably attracted by the color, then fly away without landing on the cabbage and broccoli. Not as effective lately but I'm almost out so I think I will go get some more. They recently posted that they also produce a bin full of scrap lumber so I think I'll go look at those as well.
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.

imafan26
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Re: Nematodes vs Diatomaceous Earth to beat Slugs?

I grow some plants in pure cinder, but it doesn't stop slugs and snails. Probably because I plant in pots and they crawl up the sides of the pots, hitch a ride on an overhanging leaf and stay more or less in the canopy.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

meshmouse
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Re: Nematodes vs Diatomaceous Earth to beat Slugs?

Please pardon my ignorance, but are you all saying that slugs are nocturnal?

imafan26
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Re: Nematodes vs Diatomaceous Earth to beat Slugs?

They are mostly nocturnal, during the heat of the day they burrow just under the soil or hide in moist dark places. On cloudy and wet days they stay out later. The best times to find them are early in the morning while the dew is still on the leaves and just after dusk with a flashlight. When there are a lot of them, they will cover a sidewalk.

During the daytime, they hide under pots, in tall weeds in moist places.

I often find them eating the roots of my potted plants. I have to put screens in the drain holes to try to keep them out and pull the plants out of the pots once in a while and check the roots.

For every slug and snail you see, assume there are 20 you don't. If you see them out in the daytime, there are a whole lot more than you think, if they are foraging in the day.

They have been around since the Cambrian period, 500 million years, and like roaches will probably still be around long after we are gone. P.S. modern humans have only been around for a measly 200,000 years. Slugs and snails can potentially live for many years, since they are hermaphrodites everyone can lay eggs. They lay about 30 eggs at a time and eggs will hatch in about three weeks but eggs can be viable up to two years. Do the math, there numbers grow geometrically. That is why getting rid of them is pretty hard unless you can get rid of all your plants and you don't water a thing, then they will migrate off to your neighbors house instead. Getting rid of them, would take a lot of time and sluggo, control is probably the best you can hope for.

Frogs, toads, chickens, some songbirds, newts, and lizards eat slugs and snails. There are also cannibal snails that eat them as well.

Unfortunately, Hawaii has problems with introduced species. The mongoose is an infamous one. The cannibal snail was a deliberate introduction to control the other introduced African snail, however, the cannibal snail took a liking to a native snail and drove them to extinction. Considering how hard the Dept of Ag makes it to bring anything into the State, and their slow and sometimes stupid response time to invasive species, they still haven't figured out that bringing in other aliens doesn't guarantee they won't become problems themselves. They are too under staffed to inspect everything coming in and they don't have a lobby to get needed legislation to help them protect the aina.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

meshmouse
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Location: Long Island NY USA zone7a

Re: Nematodes vs Diatomaceous Earth to beat Slugs?

Thanks imafan -

That's alot of information. Today is cold and rainy, I'm going to look at my community garden site where I have seen many under boards and things, to see if they're munching on my luncheon.

meshmouse

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