Slugs...Yuck! HELP!!!

downeastwavesJuly 30, 2004

Maine Man I'm taking your suggestion and starting a slug thread, maybe folks will offer up their methods of slug control.

Leasa wrote:

"We have slugs! LOTS of SLUGS!!! The last few nights I've been collecting them in zip lock Baggies. Quite a haul! Hope it helps by cutting them out of the breeding cycle."

Maine Man replies:

You might want to start a message thread about the slugs. We're in a woodsy area and have slugs, too. Your nighttime hand collecting technique sounds interesting. How do you pick them up? With your fingers? Is that safe? Is there any danger of catching slug diseases from them? I know in Texas we had to be careful about not catching leprosy from certain wildlife.

Leasa's method....

Here is what I've done. First for many months I've been washing out eggshells and after they dry squishing them in a jar. I heard that slugs would not cross over them and I really did not want my baby gourds to be eaten by the slugs--well slugs do not seem the least bit interested in the gourds with the egg shells around them

My neighbor gave me a bunch of cuke babies and the slugs had a FEAST! The first night I lost about 6 baby plants. I put what I had for eggshells around and it helped but she gave me a lot of plants so I figured I better see just how many slugs were snacking on my plants. At dusk I took a trip around the garden.

I was SHOCKED!!! The slugs were having a party in my garden and they were inviting slugs from all over to come join them!!!

I put on a latex glove, got a zip lock baggie and went on safari. I could not believe how many slugs I picked! Good think the trash man is not fussy about what he takes! I do not touch them so I feel real safe from any germs they might carry.

My neighbor said I should sprinkle salt around some of my potato beds, she said they would dissolve--oew gross, they do! She said to be careful not to get the salt close to the plants. Well for the past week I've been picking slugs and sprinkling salt. There are lots less of them.

I'm not sure I really want to know the breeding habits of slugs; I just hope taking out a bunch of them will help in my plants. They really did a job on one patch of potatoes and lots of cukes fell victim and one hosta got hit pretty bad.

They seem to be out on the wet/foggy nights more than on the one dry evening we had!

Please share your tips for slug control...

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according to this link I found, I should NOT be sprinking salt!!!


Here is a link that might be useful: Slug Control

    Bookmark   July 30, 2004 at 2:24PM
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I don't like to discourage my cats from sleeping under the big hostas, so I don't do poison or anything sharp. I do have good luck with a combination of beer, copper flashing cut into narrow strips, and companion planting with garlic, in spots that are sunny enough where it will grow.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2004 at 5:40PM
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I've been picking slugs by hand for years. They won't hurt you. The slime will wash off with just a little effort.

When there are too many slugs and the garden is mature so that they can't do any damage I turn the ducks out. They'll eat a lot of slugs in a short time.

A sprinkle of salt won't damage the soil. It takes very little. The slug will "sweat" enough to cleanse itself that it will die. If you go overboard and shake salt all over a lot of slugs you might do some damage.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2004 at 6:55PM
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We're not allowed to have ducks intown Auburn. :( Plus it would drive Max, the Germain shorthair across the street, crazy. He's well trained not to come across, but if he saw ducks in my yard he'd get to quiverin so bad he'd probably explode!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2004 at 8:15PM
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maineman(z5a ME)


I use Lawn Lime as a slug repellent, much as you use eggshells. Chemically they are similar. The eggshells are primarily calcium carbonate and the lawn lime contains a mixture of calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate. Both eggshells and Lawn Lime are actually beneficial to plant life and non-toxic. The Lawn Lime is just a processed form of dolomitic limestone. The advantage of Lawn Lime is you can buy a big bag of it at some place like Home Depot for a few dollars and that gives you a good supply. It will take quite a while to collect 40 pounds of eggshells unless you are getting them from some place like a restaurant.

I just finished off a 40-pound bag of Southdown brand Easy Spread Granular Lawn Lime which is 55% calcium carbonate and 41% magnesium carbonate. (The remainder is apparently sand or powdered silica which they warn you not to breath.) The paper bag gives instructions for spreading with a cyclone spreader but the granular nature of the product is better suited to a conventional drop type spreader. It is not pelleted like the pelleted gypsum (calcium sulfate) that I use, and I prefer to use pelleted products in a rotary spreader.

However, the coarse powder nature of that Lawn Lime product makes it easy to spread by hand from a bucket or coffee can and is suitable for laying down a protective barrier against slugs.

I recently constructed a shallow retaining wall -- more of a terrace -- from lined up sticks of firewood harvested by thinning the woods bordering the garden. (Added benefit: more sun for the garden.) The firewood wall borders the garden on the south and on the west. It extended the size of the garden by 25% or more but, like a rock wall, it provides a habitat for any number of things including spiders, slugs, and probably eventually small snakes. I have already treated the firewood terrace with some lawn lime to discourage the slugs and plan to increase the dose with a second bag of the stuff.

Thanks for the link to the UMCE Slug Fact Sheet.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2004 at 1:11AM
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Grammie_ME(z5b ME)

Years ago I controlled slugs by spending fifteen minutes or so hand picking them each morning starting in mid to late May. The reduction in population was significant and more than justified the time spent.
Now, because I have a goodly amount of snakes (garter, milk, and red bellied)that stay near and in my gardens I no longer need to harvest the slugs. It appears that the snakes eat them, beginning in mid to late June. I live on the coast (lots of foggy, moist days)and mulch heavily, two conditions that favor the slugs.
Good luch.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2004 at 8:59AM
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maineman(z5a ME)


"Now, because I have a goodly amount of snakes (garter, milk, and red bellied) that stay near and in my gardens I no longer need to harvest the slugs. It appears that the snakes eat them, beginning in mid to late June."

Since Maine has no poisonous snakes, and we don't have poultry, I make it a practice not to harm the snakes. I have seen and respected several garter snakes in the general area of the garden, although none actually in the garden. I was hoping they would eat voles. If they eat slugs, that's good too.

Hopefully my wife will not be frightened by the snakes. We came to Maine less than two years ago and my wife is not altogether satisfied with my assurances that Maine has no poisonous snakes. She is concerned that someone's pet snake, brought in from anywhere on the globe, may have escaped.

Based on pictures I have seen, milk snakes can look pretty scary. I don't know anything about the red bellied snakes you mentioned. I have seen a lot of garter snakes, here and elsewhere, so they don't alarm me. I don't like for them to come in the house, though.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2004 at 11:00AM
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I put some Sluggo down yesterday. It took a few phone calls to find it but I finally located some at Provencher's in Lewiston. While I was there I spotted a variegated-leaf iris I don't have, so I just had to get some! :D Anyway, one of our cats was digging around in the sweet potatoes where I had laid down the Sluggo, so it's nice to know it's not going to hurt her. Now if I could get her to choose flowerbeds instead of veggir plots! ;P

    Bookmark   August 6, 2004 at 9:14AM
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Tikanmeeko(z4/5 Maine)

Could it be slugs that are eating my hostas.. i have a beautiful hosta bed but all my hostas have been lunch for some silly critter.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2004 at 11:36AM
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From the Organic forum - wood ash is supposed to kill slugs.

Here is a link that might be useful: Slug control

    Bookmark   August 9, 2004 at 7:32AM
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I use wood ash I collected from my outdoor chimenea.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2004 at 10:43AM
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Sluggo or Escar-Go! have worked well for me. Both are iron phosphate mixed with a slug bait and are non toxic to mammals, birds and fish. I only need 1-2 applications when plants are young, once they are older they can survive some slug damage.

Handpicking is also extremely effective, or if you don't want to touch the slimy buggers, just snip them in half with a sharp pair of garden snips. I wish ducks were an option for me....

    Bookmark   August 11, 2004 at 8:48AM
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I got three geese who are garden freindly, although they are still young, (a few months old) and havent even figured outhow to eat worms hand fed to them- I am told they will be very helpful companions for our gardens. I also have 10 chickens, however, they will destroy my garden to dig for until after the harvest I keep them caged up. :(

Other than that I use fresh seaweed on the outside of the beds( which I collect off the beaches). The salt residue has kept the slugs out of the plants, and then I just turn the sea weed into the beds or on top of my patatoes as they need it.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2004 at 5:05PM
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Slugs will turn hostas into lace, also Solomon's Seal and what they do to tomatoes doesn't bear thinking about.
Sluggo works like a charm - not poisonous to anything except slugs and it wipes them out almost instantly - they stop eating and crawl away somewhere to die- just disappear which is the way I like it. In a wet season it's indispensable.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2004 at 3:00AM
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Check this baby out!!!!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Texas Sized Slug!!!!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 10:28PM
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First, I find the best thing I did for myself, re slug control, was to keep all dark, damp areas (under deck, shady spot near base of house, etc...) super clear of weeds, large stones, planks of wood, etc.... As long as there is no place for them to hide during the day they don't seem to hang around.

I learned this the hard way. I had some left over 2x4s from building our deck that I was too lazy to get rid of last summer so I stashed them under the deck. Once I finally pulled the boards out I hit the slug mother load (lode?). In fact, there were two slugs that were SO huge I couldn't bring myself to pick them up. I kept asking my hubby to get them (asking escalated quickly to demanding and then screeching). I thought I would throw up. Finally my husband came to check it out and said he couldn't see them. When he finally did lay his eyes on them he nearly jumped out of his shoes. He said he didn't see them because he was looking the typical "garden variety" quarter sized greasy little thing, not the wooly mammoths of the slug world. They looked like shiny, brown, VW bugs. They were surly too. As my husband finally tossed the last one into the street it turned and gave us the finger.

Seriously, keep the area around the plants that they love super clear of debris. Those babies need some where to stay cool in the sun - take that away and they go away (mostly).

Also, I do patrol for them twice a day but so, far, have only found a hand full of tiny ones.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2007 at 8:02PM
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