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How to Get Rid of Slugs

June 20, 2013 - GrowOrganic
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There’s no silver bullet for getting rid of slugs. You need to combine the classic Integrated Pest Management [IPM] techniques of cultural, mechanical, and chemical controls. Does that sound too academic? It’s actually very practical. And some of it involves wearing your bathrobe in the garden. Watch Tricia control slugs with the full range of organic methods. Monitor on night patrol Hang out in your garden and look for unwanted visitors—at night, as well as in the daytime. When…
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Video Transcript
Hi I'm Tricia, an organic gardener. I grow organically for a healthy and safe food supply for a clean and sustainable environment for an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Slugs and their cousins snails are something that most gardeners are gonna have to deal with eventually. Today I'm going to go over how to control these lettuce munchers organically. The first step to control slugs is monitoring just because your lettuce is looking a little like swiss cheese doesn't mean you have slugs look for silvery mucus trails. Slugs will also chew irregular holes in the soft tissue between plants veins. Slugs and snails are usually nocturnal but they will wander out from time to time on a moist cool day. Head out at night with a flashlight and see if you can catch them red handed or footed as the case may be. If you have slugs or snails the best way to deal with them are mechanical, cultural and chemical controls. The first step is cultural controls, remove any weeds or debris from your garden area slugs and snails like to hide underneath boards and rocks dense ground covers can be great hiding places for slugs and snails if you can't move your dense ground cover then just avoid planting your vegetable garden nearby if you have a slug habitat you can plant plants that they don't like for example they don't like rosemary and they don't like lavender or nastirsums or california poppy. Replace overhead sprinklers with drip irrigation and that prevents moist surfaces which tend to attract slugs. Use course mulches slugs have a hard time with mulches like shredded cedar bark or coco shells. In addition to cultural control you can use mechanical controls like hand picking, traps and barriers. To hand pick effectively water the infested area in the afternoon to draw the slugs out then visit your garden with a jar and a flashlight after dark, pick off and destroy all the slugs you find you might have to do this every day initially but once you reduce the populations enough you'll probably only have to pick weekly. Use traps like this slug saloon its baited with non toxic ingredients like malted barley and sucrose. Another good way to trap slugs is to deliberately leave a hiding place, you can either put down a six-inch board or piece of cardboard routinely turn these traps over and destroy the slugs that are hiding beneath this. Ant and crawling insect killer is labeled to control slugs its made from diatomaceous earth which is the fossilized remains of microscopic plants and animals the tiny sharp edges lacerate the insect body and cause death by dehydration within forty eight hours. This surface deterrent only works when dry. For a barrier that you can use when it is wet try these slug shields made of copper the copper reacts with the slug mucus and causes disruption to the slugs nervous system similar to the slug being electrocuted. You can also make your own mini fencing around your garden bed just use window screen make it four inches tall and bury in the ground. You can combine your cultural and mechanical controls with a chemical control like this Sluggo slug bait it's made from iron phosphate and you can spread it out in the afternoon or in the evening. Don't pile the bait, sprinkling is much more effective I like this bait because it can be used on vegetables and it's safe around children pets and wildlife when it's properly applied. Water the area after spreading the Sluggo this will encourage the slugs to come out and eat the bait. If you have chickens or ducks they can be enlisted as an additional biological control ducks love to eat slugs and snails. Enjoy your lettuce that doesn't look like swiss cheese get rid of your slugs and grow organic for life!
Solutions: Slugs & Snails


Janice Collett Says:
Jun 22nd, 2013 at 4:15 pm

Trish,
Wondering about control for earwigs.  My previous message: forgot the email address.
Thanks,
Janice

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Jun 24th, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Janice, You might like this other video, where Tricia talked about controlling earwigs http://groworganic.com/organic-gardening/videos/organic-insect-control-snails-earwigs-aphids

Karen D'Amato Says:
Jun 25th, 2013 at 4:26 pm

As far as the snails go, you can harvest them, give them a week in a contained box eating organic cornmeal, and enjoy them in your favorite escargot recipe. My brother did and they were delicious!

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