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microcollie
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Slug and snail control

I saw mention in the vegetable forum of Sluggo. Slugs and snails have always been a problem in my shade gardens (a few hostas there that are like magnets!). The heart of my dilemma is that I just can't bring myself to kill them. (sometimes my ethics really get in the way) :? Is Sluggo just a repellant, or does it kill them? Any other suggestions to keep them at bay without killing? I've thought about mulching my garden with pennies, as I've heard that they avoid copper. Could be kind of pretty, huh? (and probably not much more expensive than the double-ground organic mulch I use!!)

cynthia_h
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If you're unwilling to kill slugs and snails, you'll have to resign yourself to the fact that you're raising hostas to feed the slugs and snails. I'm not sure of the specifics re. slugs, but any two snails can breed. They're hermaphroditic in the sense that each snail carries both male and female capability, so any two can make more snail eggs and lay them on the hostas, hatching out maybe a dozen more. Etc.

We have reams, rafts, boatloads, etc. of discussions here about snails/slugs. I myself was squeamish about killing them when I first took up gardening, but after they denuded my lettuce and tomato seedlings, that was IT. :evil: I just go out with a flashlight and trowel or other instrument and hand-pick them at night as they're feasting on *my* plants, grown with *my* compost, *my* efforts, *my* soil.

I don't use Sluggo; I don't care what the box says, it seems to have a great potential for secondary toxicity to birds and others. The % of undeclared ingredients is way too high for my comfort.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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microcollie
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Thanks for the info, Cynthia. It's not that I'm squeamish, I'm just not sure that I have a right to kill them. They are, after all, just doing what they're meant to do. I'm perfectly willing to pick them off of my plants, just don't know what to do once I have them in my hand. (I'm the one that posted a thread about relocating japanese beetles to another section of my property so as not to kill them :oops: )
Do they have natural predators that might help? Are there plants that repel them? Are there conditions that I could create that they would find unfavorable?
Or perhaps I could just have a hosta garden especially for them with the hopes that they would find it more attractive than my other beds! :lol:

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rainbowgardener
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slug prevention

You can get copper strips to put around your plants which are supposed to keep them away.

Otherwise all kinds of rough or abrasive or tangling things can act as a physical barrier without killing them... they have to flow across the ground to get to your plants. So pine needle mulch, sweet gum tree seed balls, sandpaper, roof shingles, bark mulch, gravel chips, clothes drier lint, hair or pet fur. Any of these around your plants should keep the slugs from getting to it.

Slugs are said not to like caffeine. Some people have tried coffee grounds, but they are not sharp enough to be enough of an irritant and the caffeine has been brewed out of them. But try pouring strong brewed coffee around your plant. Might have to be renewed every once in awhile, after it rains.

A number of aromatics are said to repel them including mint, ginger, sage, tansy, rosemary, fennel, garlic, artemisia (wormwood tea).

Let us know what you try and how it works for you!
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cynthia_h
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Ducks like to eat snails; I don't know whether ducks eat slugs. You could maybe deposit bunches of snails in front of hungry ducks....this avoids the "don't feed the ducks" stricture. The ducks get to choose whether or not to eat the snails. A gardening friend in Berkeley had a duck for snail control. The duck foraged for the snails and thereby controlled their population until raccoons....:evil: hateful raccoons....:evil: no more duck. :(

There are people who have found that their chickens will also eat snails/slugs, but only if the snails/slugs are placed right in front of said chickens. The chickens won't seek out the snails/slugs; you need to bring snails/slugs to the chickens.

Cynthia

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microcollie
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Wow! A plethora of information! I hope the coffee won't keep 'em up at night! I'll keep you posted.
Thanks

Joyfirst
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Well, slugs are up at night anyway - that's when I go to gather them...Anyway, I heard that copper around beads helps, but it has to be at least 3 inches wide to be effective, so I am wondering how do I buy the copper-tape usually comes in 1.5 inch width or so and is not very lasting. Do they sell them a bit thicker, but still quite pliable in greater widths?

Joyfirst
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I think snails are cute and feel sorry for them, but I still don't want them to eat my plants. In the urban enviroment they don't have many predators, and that's why they grow out of control.

nickolas
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I just moved to a new property five months ago which is surrounded my monoculture farmland, which means very little variety when it comes to predators to control my snails and slugs, but on my old property there was a grate variety of predators, such as
Frogs, marsh flies, slow worms, centipedes, magpies, owls, robins, toads, common lizard, foxes, mice, rats and glow worms(which eat a few small snails) just to name a few.
But all I have now in the way of predators is foxes, mice, rats, magpies, owls and chooks which is all still good and fine but they don’t always get all of my slugs and snails that love to eat my seedlings :twisted:. so I find myself using wormwood tea and bear traps to keep the sudden outbursts of snails and slugs in control.

smadunich
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Attacked By Squash Borers, can we still save the squash?

We tried to save our spaghetti squash plants, but caught the borer problem to late (lesson learned). My question is, I have a lot of squash still attached to the vine. Once I dispose of the plants, will the squash continue to ripen and are they affected/infected by the bugs? Are they still edible? Still working on saving the zucchini plants, (the coffee idea and wood chips are great ideas).

Thanks!

FlowerPowerGirl
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I like the dryer lint idea, I'll try that.

I have a big slug problem in one part of my yard.

Someone told me that a saucer of beer kills slugs, they are attacted to it, get drunk and drown, but it never worked for me.

DoubleDogFarm
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Ducks love slugs, even the huge type. They line them up and down they go.

https://academic.evergreen.edu/projects/ants/TESCBiota/mollusc/key/webkey.htm

Eric

Luria
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Slug traps

You can catch slugs easily, the Department of Agriculture of my country has a pdf of how to get rid of insects. Just put an upside down ceramic vase in a place near where the slug problem is, put a rock or something to hold the vase kinda incline so slug can get into it, they will go looking for darkness and humidity. Also you can make snail/slug traps by putting a bowl with grape juice or beer in a corner that is shady, leave for a few days then go and pick up your snails, they will go after the juice or beer, there is something about it that they can't resist, that way you can catch them without killing them, but then I don't know what to tell you to do with them, I put them in a soap solution of 3% soap to kill them...
:)

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Kisal
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Slugs and snails are terrestrial mollusks, not insects. Being hermaphrodites, they do not need to mate at all in order to lay viable eggs. (Some research indicates that they usually do mate with another snail, however, even though it isn't necessary.) A single brown garden snail can produce over 400 more snails every year.

I've not heard of using juice as a bait, but certainly beer is effective. Perhaps wine would work, too, but all I've ever heard about for this use is beer. Snails in my yard don't seem to care for the stuff, but the slugs love it. If you were hoping to spare the lives of the critters by using this method, I have to tell you that won't happen. They get drunk on the beer and drown in it. [img]https://i252.photobucket.com/albums/hh27/Kisal_photos/dunno.gif[/img]

A trap can be made out of anything that will lay flat on the ground, such as scraps of wood, or even cardboard. You'd probably have to weight the cardboard down, so it doesn't blow away if there's a wind. Just pick up the traps the next day and collect the snails and slugs. They will be alive, so you'll have to either destroy them, or take them far, far away from your property. They can travel about a yard/meter in 5 minutes, and the Brown Garden snail does have a homing instinct. If you don't take them far enough away, they'll just head right back to your property. IMO, they should be destroyed, rather than risk releasing them in an area they haven't yet infested.

Ducks will happily eat both snails and slugs. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

Luria
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Reply

Well I just told what I read from our Dept. of Agriculture and has worked for them. I just rechecked and the document didn't said insects and said Common Garden Plagues of Puerto Rico. I was just trying to help.
:)

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Kisal
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Not a problem. I just didn't want anyone searching the forum for information on the topic to get confused. Other people have referred to snails and slugs as insects in the past. We just like to keep things clear. ;)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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applestar
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You're doing fine Luria. :D
We like to be precise so as to avoid future confusion, that's all. :wink:

The dark, damp hiding place method you described is the simplest of all. A member posted a while ago that he uses stacked clay and plastic pots.

I've also found that they are attracted to citrus pulp. 8)

Luria
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:D
:)

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floridahillnursery
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trails end snail and slug control

Hello, we use a product called trails end around our grow tables. This stuff stops them dead in their tracks. It even kills those pesky pill bugs around the strawberry beds in our personal garden.... :)

https://fs1.agrian.com/pdfs/Trails_End_Lg_(11338-1)_Label.pdf

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applestar
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Wow that's a scary looking label. :shock:
I don't think it's suitable for organic gardening. nutz: O:)

cynthia_h
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Re: trails end snail and slug control

floridahillnursery wrote:Hello, we use a product called trails end around our grow tables. This stuff stops them dead in their tracks. It even kills those pesky pill bugs around the strawberry beds in our personal garden.... :)

https://fs1.agrian.com/pdfs/Trails_End_Lg_(11338-1)_Label.pdf
The active ingredient is 3.5% metaldehyde. This is absolutely a synthetic ingredient. Please note that this discussion is under our "Organic Insect and Plant Disease Control" section, where chemical means are eschewed. Metaldehyde has been responsible for cat and dog poisonings--probably child poisonings, too--and is not a choice for any organic gardener.

If you have organic recommendations for slug/snail control, please let us know them. Chemical means are beyond the scope of "Organic Insect and Plant Disease Control."

Thank you for understanding.

Cynthia H.
/moderator/

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floridahillnursery
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organic gardening

Thanks Applestar ROFL, I didnt notice the organic part... Yeah, its definatly not organic...

Thanks Cynthia_h, I would like to add to your post if you don't mind. Poisoning in pets does not occur as result of application. (at a ROA of 1 granule per square foot) Poisoning occurs as result of improper storage. As with anything bleach, peroxide, cleaning products and one of the largest killer of pets radiater coollant fluid "Ethylene Glycol" (Antifreeze) it all must be handled and stored properly by responsible persons.

Organic option. Put a can of beer in the ground level with the soil....

GardenGnome
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Idk what copper strips cost I did a fast look and something said $25 for 10feet.
You can also us pennies just line them around your plants. Or glue them on a wood strip and bury the wood.
Gilson (Giles) Zone 7b

tenplay
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Someone suggested crushed eggshells spread on the ground around plants you want to protect from slugs and snails. I tried it with varying success. Another person suggested baking the eggshells to make them harder. Has anyone tried that?

Also the copper penny solution sounds promising. Has anyone had success with it? Wondering if enough copper is in pennies to make it work.

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Kisal
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If I'm not mistaken, pennies are made mostly of zinc, with just a thin coating of copper.

I've tried the eggshell thing, although I didn't bake them. I've read studies that show slugs and snails crawling over and along razor blade edges. Whenever they encounter an uncomfortable surface, like the shells, they just exude more of the slime they're so well known for. It's quite protective.

The only solution I've found that really works is hand picking them.
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

tenplay
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Kisal wrote:If I'm not mistaken, pennies are made mostly of zinc, with just a thin coating of copper.

I've tried the eggshell thing, although I didn't bake them. I've read studies that show slugs and snails crawling over and along razor blade edges. Whenever they encounter an uncomfortable surface, like the shells, they just exude more of the slime they're so well known for. It's quite protective.

The only solution I've found that really works is hand picking them.
So you seem to be saying that all means of preventing slugs from attacking plants are useless in the end, that the only way to lessen the damage is to catch the slugs and then to kill them. That is not the answer that I or the OP was hoping for.

A friend suggested raised beds as an effective solution. It's more work but maybe worth the effort. Has anyone had any success with raised beds?

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rainbowgardener
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slug control

Nope, sorry. I grow mostly in raised beds. Some of my pepper plants are in tall raised beds, wooden sides, sitting on top of concrete patio. They were getting chewed to death until I started treating them with diatomaceous earth and eggshells. Since I used both, I can't say what worked, but it definitely slowed the damage down, though didn't entirely stop it. Slowed it down enough that the plants can grow again.

The raised bed didn't seem to slow the slugs down at all.

A lot of people swear by beer traps, but my slugs appear to be teetotalers.

If you are willing to use it, there's a commercial product called sluggo, which slugs eat and it poisons them. It's active ingredient is iron phosphate which in itself is non-toxic. Sluggo is OMRI certified organic. However, it is 1% active ingredient and 99% unlisted "inert" ingredients and there is concern that some of the inert ingredients are actually toxic in the environment, to earthworms and even to dogs that would eat the stuff.

There is something called Slug Shield

https://www.slugshield.com/Home.html

which is basically woven copper wire to wrap around the base of your plants. Completely non-toxic, doesn't have to be reapplied after every rain. I would think the main drawback of this would be it costs about $1/plant and has to be applied individually. Not too bad if you have a few plants you are worried about protecting, but not easy to do for fields of them.

In an old discussion we had about Sluggo, Kisal posted a trapping method:

I don't recommend slug & snail baits other than beer, but back in the bad old days, my neighbors and I would save small jars, such as jelly jars, put a little of the bait in each one, and lay them on their sides in our gardens. Except for the slugs and snails, animals didn't seem to bother the stuff, and it didn't come in contact with the soil or our plants.

A similar method is to cut little half-circles out of the edge of a container such as cottage cheese comes in, place the container lid on the ground with the inside up, lay a little bit of bait in the center of it, then "snap" the container onto it. The snails and slugs could get at the bait through the little half-circle openings.

We liked the jelly jars, though, because, being clear, they weren't so visible and gave the garden a neater appearance. Even so, I no longer use baits. I've found hand-picking the critters to be most effective.

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=176562#176562

There are many things people have tried against slugs and most of them seem to work for some people some of the time. You have to figure out what works for you.
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NewGarden
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slug control

I have used slug shields. They work remarkably well and they're great for most of my plants - brassicas, romaine, tomato, cucumber, pepper, and Dahlias, etc. The upfront cost is worth it b/c they last all season with virtually no maintenance and they say they can be re-used. Just my two cents - I feel I've become a slug expert this year!

And, yes, Sluggo (and other Iron Phosphate baits) is NOT organic in my book! I can't believe they get away with that...



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