Slugs and snails - good news, bad news

jan_on zone 5bApril 3, 2013

First the bad news - On one of my newly discovered British garden shows the host claimed that slugs and snails, in their short lifespan, can produce 60,000 progeny. In addition, snails have great homing instincts, so if you fire them over the fence into your neighbour's yard, they will find their way back. That's cetainly reassuring.

The good news - a magazine article about cucumbers claims - "Are grubs and slugs ruining you planting beds? Place a few slices of cucumber in a small aluminum pie tin. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to emit a scent that is undetectable to humans but drives garden pests crazy and makes them flee the area."
Sounds like an interesting idea, worth a try.

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bkay2000(8a TX)

Those little foil frozen pie tins would be perfect for that. They would be small enough to hide under/behind a hosta. Unless you looked for it, you wouldn't see it. A bakery supply would have them by the case, if they would sell to the public. You might even make your own pie tin with regular aluminum foil. It's the chemical reaction you're going for, not the shape and size of the container.


    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 9:31PM
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irawon(5a Ottawa)

Hmm, another use for tin foil. It's worth a try. I know its chemical reaction with baking soda works on tarnished silver.

Slug damage on my hostas was reduced a lot with the ammonia wash (1 part ammonia to 10 parts water) BUT cutworms were another story. Steve mass said that spinosad worked on them. Not sure we can get spinosad in Canada but I'm looking into it.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 6:11PM
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McTavish uses a copper tape you can purchase but it comes in such small rolls in Canada and it is very expensive. Why would copper house wire not work if the rubber coating is removed and a circle made around the hosta plant or pot not work for deturing slugs Just a thought as you can purchase a 250 fot coil of it for around $50 and there is 3 wires in each foot, Has anyone tried this or is it hogwash?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 7:33PM
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leafwatcher(zone 5)

I buy something similar to this at HOBBY LOBBY for the same price7-8 bucks a roll. quite a bit there as well. ewelr y-Soldering-Altered-Art-Scrapbook-/380591264136?pt=US_Charm_Charm_Brac elets&hash=item589d01d188

My friends and I use it on large routed wooden slotcar tracks..a great winter hobby ;)

This post was edited by leafwatcher on Thu, Apr 4, 13 at 23:00

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 10:58PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

almosthooked- I used to get scrap wire from my electrician brother and stripped it and braided it a circle. It works pretty good, still use them. Alas, with the price of copper they recycle all now.


    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 12:50AM
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The last hosta newsletter I got said that a 2% coffee solution would kill them if applied directly and deter them if applied to the soil around them. Apparently it was also tested on cabbages and it worked there to. The only question was how it would affect the earthworms. I figure you add coffee grounds to the compost and work that into the soil so it can't harm them to much.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 9:20AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

so if you fire them over the fence into your neighbour's yard, they will find their way back.

==>> oh jan .. thats precious.. we now know your eradication process .. lol ...

and you thought you were being so sneaky ... lol ...


can produce 60,000 progeny.

==>> yes.. and if i recall properly.. they dont even need a mate.. since the one thing.. swings both ways.. male and female.. all rolled into one.. whats that all about?????

i often say.. fall killing is best.. kill momma.. and you wont be battling her 50 million offspring next season ...


    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 9:28AM
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I realize that something that works in one location doesn't necessarily work in another. This has been my experience.

There was a lot of discussion last year about how the copper does not work on slugs and snails and there is no scientific basis that it would. My slugs do not know that. The copper tape I put on pots made a huge difference and I will definately get more this year. I also heard that aluminum was a similar kind of deterrent. For several years I've tried to grow sweet basil. It has alway been eaten right to the ground just about overnight. I would replace the plant and it would get eaten. Last year I put a basil plant in a pot in the same location as before. I covered a square piece of plywood with aluminum foil. I put the pot of basil on that. There was not a single slug bite all summer. By the middle of the summer I made rings of alumium foil to put around some Hostas out in the woods. There had been some slug damage by then so it was hard to tell if it did anything. Besides that, it looks stupid. I have some of those copper pot scrubbers I will cut apart and use this year.

As far as the little aluminum pie plates with a slice of cucumber goes, I had hundreds of those all over my garden a few years ago. I decided it didn't work when I found slugs standing in the middle of the cucumber eating happily. It doesn't make sense that the foil on the plywood worked last year and the little pie plate things didn't. Maybe it's a different kind of aluminum?

What we really need is for some bright person to invent a treatment that kills cutworms, foliar nematodes, slugs, snails, black vine beetles, HVX and all the while feeding the hosta.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 12:34PM
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In addition, snails have great homing instincts, so if you fire them over the fence into your neighbour's yard, they will find their way back. That's cetainly reassuring.

My thoughts on the matter:
It's a good thing in historical times they did not use "carrier snails" to bring the news from the frontlines to headquarters.
"Send reinforcements."
QUOTE (AlmostHooked)
Just a thought as you can purchase a 250 fot coil of it for around $50 and there is 3 wires in each foot, Has anyone tried this or is it hogwash?

My thoughts on the matter:
I'd think it nice to hire old gray-haired hippies to braid you a copper bracelet to go around the neck of all your pots, and have a couple of arm and leg bracelets made for you and Myrle to ward off arthritis. Copper is such a grand why not prevent slugs........and you'd be giving an old-timer some honest work.

That said, I saw that Pieterje's pots had them around the necks, and saw how some really large snails (in pictures from Europe) had GIGANTIC snails stopped by copper PIPE, and so I caved and bought some of that sticky-back copper tape for my ceramic hosta pots.

And some others too. Did it work, you ask? Well, who looks pretty....makes me feel like I'm really gardening now, ya know......and let's face it, we had slugs raining down on us with lots of rainy soggy weather, and they were everywhere. So I was fighting the war on too many fronts last year to know what one thing actually HELPED.

The thing I believe helped the most was learning to NOT PUT THE BAIT IN THE POT WITH THE HOSTA. Duhhhh, I mean, what if it kills a slug intent on eating a WEED not a HOSTA....I mean, is there an issue of killing a GOOD slug moral issue to be resolved? You know how they say life forms have sensitivities and sensabilities, and after all a slug IS a "life form"........but I haven't removed the tape, I like it. So what if bait scattered in the moist areas and NOT in the pots is what reduced the slug problem. I'd use both option A. Copper Tape and B. Bait .....regardless.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 11:59PM
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