Best methods to control slugs

GGardens(8)April 15, 2013

How can slugs be controlled/eliminated? Commercial slug bait products say not to irrigate for 48 hrs after application; but in this area's (Olympic pennisula) on-off rainy weather, 48 hrs with no rain is weeks away. So slug bait seems to be a waste of time and money.

I've surrounded my huechera and hosta plants with crushed egg shells, so far it seems to be working. Are there other methods besides search and destroy?

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what kind of slug bait tells you that???

I use sluggo and have not been aware of that caution.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 2:08AM
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I just keep hammering them with Metaldehyde, regardless of weather. I'm growing some very challenging and slow plants, and will not tolerate big losses to slugs. The Metaldehyde works fine for me. Occasionally, I'll throw some Sluggo out there, but I'm not sure how effective it is.

The coarser your mulch is, the worse the slugs will be. That's my experience anyway.

After a couple of years of persistent baiting, you will notice a big dropoff in the slug population. But you will never get rid of them completely. At this time of year, you have to apply fresh bait every couple of weeks, as the eggs hatch.

There is a restricted product called Mesurol which will annihilate the slug population, but it annihilates just about everything else too. I wouldn't use it, even if I had the license.

Here is a link that might be useful: slug info from OSU

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 4:48PM
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To plantknitter--to answer your question--it's Ortho Bug-getta. Haven't tried Sluggo--yet.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 5:12PM
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Ortho Bug-Geta Plus has a lot of carbaryl in it.

From the link that I posted previously: "Both carbaryl and methiocarb in a bait greatly reduces populations of earthworms and predatory beetles."

Here is a link that might be useful: bug-geta plus

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 6:23PM
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Search & destroy takes time, but is effective. A bucket of soapy water works well if you prefer to just scoop & plop. I use a biodegradable soap & dump it in an out of the way place in the garden after a few days. I've also reused the soapy water bucket after washing the car. I find the bucket method easier than making, filling, & dumping bait stations homemade or purchased.

I've had good results with this method from Easy Answers for Great Gardens by Marianne Binetti page 188:
"Mix one part ammonia & two parts water in a trigger spray bottle...and it's cheap! Aim & fire on small slugs. This solution dissolves those hard to get baby slugs that hide... Large slugs may be able to survive by shedding their skin... The ammonia spray that hits the plants converts to nitrogen, so you are feeding the plants while ridding them of slugs.... Although the ammonia and water mix may damage the leaves of some ferns and plants, it is still safer than many slug baits or salt."

I have even diluted it further with 4 or 5 parts water and it still works. I think the key is to get out there & get 'em regularly. The spray method is really quick if you have the mixture already made.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 12:43AM
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Oh, yikes!
Those ortho, corry's etc. products kill the good beetles ( who eat the slug eggs by the way) and they will also kill ( or likely kill) the other amphibians salamanders, newts etcs.

Get thee some sluggo, Worry free, escargo etc.-- the slug bait with iron phosphate that is not ( or at least less) toxic ( so far as we know so far) to the other good critters we need.

Use a little ( LITTLE!) Deadline cautiously around the most important and susceptible plants as occasionally needed if needed.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 12:47AM
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Merilia(8 PNW)

If you use Sluggo (which is what I use), make sure you do NOT get Sluggo Plus. Sluggo Plus has insecticide (spinosad) that you don't need added to it. You're trying to kill slugs, not insects. Iron phosphate will take care of that.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 7:56PM
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gardenrescue2012(PNW USDA 8a, Sunset 4)

Sluggo is great. If you don't mind high maintanance, you can drown them by putting out bowls of beer at night. Old margarine tubs work great... Set them into the soil to almost the rim. Slugs can't resist the beer. If you don't have beer, I think you can use a yeast/sugar/water mixture too. They are attracted to the yeasty fermentation smell.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 11:12PM
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I have a lot of slugs in my yard. Last year I tested a number of control methods and these were my results:

Hand picking, going out at night with a flashlight (a futile fight against an infinity of slugs which had nil effect in the grand scheme of things)

Beer in saucers (I caught horrendous numbers of them but also missed many. Then there were gross saucers of dead slugs rotting in beer to clean up and refuel, which I didn't enjoy. And the beer also traps ground beetles)

Metaldahyde (I applied it to my sweet woodruff bed and the next day all the sweet woodruff had turned black and died)

Corn meal (I read they are supposed to eat it until they burst. Well, they love it and eat a LOT of it but there was no bursting going on, just big healthy slugs)

Sluggo- Sluggo wins, hands-down! After I started the sluggo, I finally noticed a huge difference in the number of slugs. I hardly found any more of them on my nightly forays with a flashlight, and most damage to plants stopped. And it gets extra points for being safe and organic, and super easy to apply.


    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 12:41AM
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I have had best luck with hand picking in the early AMs. Keep a gallon plastic bucket with high concentration of salt and a bit of water. I glove up on the picking hand so I can avoid being slimmed for life.

Salt is so cheap as to nearly be free. Everything else exceeds my budget.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 12:16PM
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laurell(8 - Washington)

I've heard ringing the beds or special plants in copper works. I personally don't have enough of a slug problem to spend the cash on a bunch of copper that may or may not fix the problem. Sluggo works reasonably well, but I've also had limited success watering things with a mixture of water and cheap coffee grounds from a can that I've let steep in an old trash can all day. Caffeine is supposed to hurt the slugs, and the coffee/grounds seem to be an effective fertilizer for the plants. That's what I prefer to use on my veggie beds.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 1:44PM
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Bluewillow, the only thing that will turn plants black overnight is a fire.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 5:08PM
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Karchita(WA Z8)

I wouldn't mind at all if my sweet woodruff all turned black overnight.

Sluggo works great for me. I apply it every two weeks, very, very sparsely by pinching a few grains at a time and flinging into all corners of my garden and a few pinches over the fence into the neighbors' jungles. About 1/3 cup covers my entire 1/4 acre. I use so little, it doesn't cost me much. I see very few slugs around unless I stop applying it.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 11:07PM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

Putting some newspaper, cardboard, or boards down near plants can draw some slugs for a nice cool shelter so I just look underneath and kill the slugs once in a while. I also use Sluggo, which seems to work well, I like to use it under my tunnels so it is protected from water.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 3:27AM
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The slugs in my yard are gourmets, so I have to change their diet on occasion. Something that seems to work well is to mix some frozen apple juice concentrate into the bait, whether it's Metaldehyde or Sluggo.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 11:25AM
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Lilydude, it most definitely did turn to black mush overnight. I was stunned and broken hearted. I can't be sure the metaldehyde did it but I don't want to experiment and find out.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 9:36PM
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Since relocating here the advice I have heard the most is to open a bottle of beer, bury it so the top is still showing and in the morning, your beer bottle will be full of them. I've also heard pouring beer into an old bucket, burying it so they can climb in and in the morning you will have a bucket full. I'm guessing slugs love their beer in Washington!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 3:58AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I'm a Sluggo girl but I'll be happy to buy some Corry's if it will kill sweet woodruff....I've been trying to do that for years....

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 12:22AM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

Bluewillow, try metaldahyde again and see if it kills Sweet Woodruff. I think your cause and effect is wrong. Report back.
I don't grow veggies or ornamental plants that slugs particularly like so I don't have any metaldahyde on hand.
In the past I have taken an empty soda bottle, cut the top 1/4 off and invert it into the bottom 3/4s of the bottle and poured stale beer or bait into it and placed in an inconspicuous part of the garden. Slugs crawl in, but can't find their way out. No gloves required. After a few days the bottle is dumped into the garbage, slugs and all.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 11:00AM
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Deadline has always worked great for me. Around foundation and around outer edges of garden.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 10:00PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

Why around the foundation?
Are they going to come in your house?
Just trying to save you money.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 1:14AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I also use Bug-Getta and similar stuff. But I also pick them( at night ,cloudy and , drizzley days). Get a bamboo skewer . When you see one , turn it up side down and skew it.. do the next one . You can get a dozen of the on one skewer ...when done, just throw it away(while on skewer)

Yet there is another method than can work better for rows of small seedling: Cover them with nylon tulle (get it from any fabric store. it is inexpensive)

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 2:32AM
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