Beer & Slugs, what's your success rate?

linht(4a)March 25, 2008

For those of us who haven't seen grass in a while, it's almost THAT time. The time when our favorite friends, the slugs, give us a warm welcome into spring while they attack our dahlias. Do you find yourselves waging war with them every season? Do they drive you to drink? On that note, has anyone tried using dishes of beer to lure them to their death? If so, how well did it work for you? Or, what's your favorite least toxic weapon against them? I tried the iron phosphate thing last year. Not very helpful.

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Oh my goodness two years ago I had tiny slugs completely liquidate my emerging last year I dug my dahlias up in the spring (yes.. I leave them in all year)and put them into one gallon pots till they where about 10" tall then I planted them out again...way to much work but I have tried everything including beer, diatomaceous earth, copper strips and slug bait...I even built them little houses with slug bait in them so that I don't hurt the birds...NOTHING!!! Once the plants are large enough that the slug damage is minimal....I can look forward to the earwigs!!I would be happy if there was some new wonderful product (preferably safe for everything but slugs and earwigs.....OH.. and maybe morning glory...I would like to see that gone too!)I'm sorry was I ranting? Let me try to compose myself!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2008 at 10:32PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

The beer works but is so much trouble. Not to mention how disgusting drowned slugs look! Very off-putting. Instead I used a lot of slug bait. I had earwigs too: those were worse. I don't know what works for them.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 2:17PM
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I tried the tin cans on top of the stakes with a paper towel inside of each can(apparently the earwigs climb in there to hide during the day) the morning you go around and shake the paper towel into a bucket of soapy water...I don't know what I was doing wrong but I caught very few earwigs....Maybe someone out there has a better method! I would love to hear about it!!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 3:22PM
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Poochella(7 WA)

We are in the capital of slug country out here with year round slugs of phenomenal size. I have always found beer bait to be a total waste of time. Go with Sluggo, or if you don't mind something more toxic, try Corry's or another metaldehyde based product.

Sluggo, now comes armed for earwigs too. The product is Sluggo Plus and contains spinosad to kill the earwigs. I used it all last year with pretty good results. The straw in cans on posts, or hose lengths lain at plant bases did virtually nothing against earwigs. They always wait for me inside the petals, the little creeps.

Ammonia squirted on slugs or slug eggs is cheap and effective, but time consuming and messy. Hand picking and immediate destruction is satisfying and effective.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sluggo Plus

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 12:22AM
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I tried the Sluggo stuff, which contains the iron phosphate, last year. It helped cut down some of the population but I still found those bad boys munching on my blooms or crawling out of the soil from the base of the plants at 6am in the morning. I think the ones that were smart enough to not eat the sluggo, grew to monstrous sizes by summer. I had to get up at 6am several times a week to catch them because that was the only time I'd actually see them.

Maybe this sounds ridiculous but has anyone tried using that sticky tape that you catch flies with? I always remove the leaves at the bottom 4 - 6 inches of each dahlia plant to improve circulation & prevent disease. Which means they always have to crawl up to the foliage from the bottom of the stalk. So I was thinking if I losely wrap some of that tape 3 - 4 inches around the base of each stalk....maybe? I've touched that tape before and it's stiiiicky.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 11:30AM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

Thanks for the info on Sluggo Plus, Poochella. The regular bait kept the slugs pretty much under control, but those earwigs were awful. More so since they targeted the blossoms. Apart from the frustration at the damage, I was afraid to cut them and bring them in the house. And thatÂs really an important reason why I have dahlias!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 12:46PM
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Thanks for the heads up on Sluggo Plus, Poochella. I used the iron phosphate (don't remember brand name off the top of my head) last year and worked wonders. No slugs at all. I'm armed with diatomaceous earth this year too, just in case.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 12:31PM
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Poochella, I've seen your slugs....they are amazingly big. I saw them in my sister's yard. She has dogs, and I thought they were dog poop they are so big!

I have found with Sluggo that it has to be applied about every 5 days diligently. It does work if you keep with it.

I'm new to dahlias and had no idea slugs devour them. Glad to know about that!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 11:04PM
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Poochella(7 WA)

Dahlias and marigolds are like a salad bar for slugs here.

Check this out from an Oregon gardener who let me use the photo. You have to have courage to hunt these big ones. This one is a garden friendly banana slug, seldom seen on desireable plants and more of a fallen debris forager. Still slimy though.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 2:21PM
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triple_b(BC 5b)

wow, get me a rod, I'm going fishing. Bringing the beer too...for myself.

(kay, now I am really grossed out)

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 2:03AM
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I haven't grown Dahlia yet, but got some seed going :D

This is what I do for earwigs though.

1. Most important IMHO is completely raking away all winter mulch by March. Eliminating this nice day time moist hiding place for these guys works wonders! Ones that do crawl out and into beds on cloudy rainy days are more susceptible to being snatched up by birds.
2. Lay out cut pieces old garden hose here and there and each morning dump contents out into soapy bucket of water.
3. Crumple up moist newspaper in evening and place in paper bags around garden...grab it up in morning and discard in garbage sack; sealed tightly. I did this for the first time around the base of Datura plants after I caught them red-handed eating up blooms before they could open.
4. Use lettuce as trap crops....I learned this by accident! I've pulled heads with literally 20+ hiding within. Even more if you can get good aphid attack on the lettuce; earwigs love to dine on them too as they are opportunistic feeders!
5. If you gonna use a beer trap for earwigs and or slugs; make a slurry containing extra yeast and sugar. You can add pieces of rotting fruits (more for the earwigs). Sink completely open ended cans (like soup cans)with the mixture in the soil so that rim is flush; making sure the slurry is no more than half-way filling the can.

Last summer I used the weed eater one day and got busy with something else. Well I laid up against the side of the house and when I finally got back to it about 8 days later and next of earwigs had moved into the string compartment! They will seek out ANY place out of the hot dry sun!

For slugs...a few more things. I lay pieces of flat board around bed perimeters. Every day pick it up and flip over; pick off the slugs. Make sure to check the ground where they laid in case they are on the soil rather than attached to the board.
Though I know it may be ugly for a minute, crush up dried eggshells into itsy bity sharp pieces and encircle plants and or sprinkle over the entire area.

Anyway, hope some of these tricks you find helpful :D


    Bookmark   April 19, 2008 at 2:15AM
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