Fall treatment for slugs

loisflanSeptember 9, 2010

I have never had much of a slug problem until this year. My hosta look terrible right now. I never see any slugs; only the damage they wreak. Is there anything I can do now to help the situation next year? Thanks.

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Oh my gosh, we are all in the same boat! They say there is alot of things. Beer in a small tin can set around the plants,sluggo,early morning or late at night, get out with a flash light and a shovel.Good luck, better luck to all of us next year, Judy

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 3:06PM
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jel48(Z4 Michigan)

I would think that the more slugs you kill now, the less there will be next year.

On the subject of slugs... and this was really disgusting... we were at camp one day after a rain. We don't have hostas there because of the deer. But we do have slugs! We have one of those fabric gazebos, the ones with the metal frame, screen sides, and a fabric top. We were sitting inside the gazebo and saw that there were slugs, HUGE slugs, all over the sides and on the top (ceiling) on the inside. Must have been dozens of them! One of the nastiest sights I've seen in a garden for a while!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 6:31PM
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lol, jel

yep,,,put sluggo or something down now,,,everyone you get can't make babies...

tip over your water dishes and see what is under them,,,

any garden art also...

have fun catching the little or "Big" guys,,,


    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 6:43PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

I got some new stuff from the home improvement store. I don't know if I had slugs, earwigs or cutworms or all three. It's called "bug-geta". It's for slugs, snails, earwigs and cutworms.

Something had taken a few bites out of my Invincible and a noid, so I put a few pellets in the pots on Sunday. No new bites, so far. Given that you only use a tsp. per square yard, it doesn't take much.


    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 7:22PM
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I have to agree this is the worst year EVER. I sprayed several gallons of 10% ammonia solution killing many many slugs each time. From the damage no one would believe I did anything. It may kill them but I also think it attracts others. I cannot afford to put the good stuff Ortho Get-a bug down all summer. First I couldn't even find the stuff EVERYONE wanted it so it sold out the same day the stores got new shipments. Second it is EXPENSIVE! The disgust when I think I could be getting new hosta with that money!! When I managed to finally purchase some I hoped to wait for one final push. I was hoping to get it out late enough it would kill any that would attempt to reproduce before freeze and early enough they were still very active. I spread $60.00 of the stuff last week end. It was not enough to hit all my beds even. Next Spring I will be out early with the ammonia, again. It sure feels good while you are out there...it is the fact that for every one I killed there were 100 still in hiding that drove me INSANE. Bottom line the more you kill now the less you will have come spring. They are laying eggs and gearing up for next year as I type!!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 7:40PM
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Just simply encircle your hostas with something like diatomaceous earth, lava rock, copper(pennies work great, they actually have some use lol), egg shells, coffee grounds.... then spread lightly around your beds one of the slug baits.. either the iron phosphate kind or the metaldehyde kind... the iron phosphate kind is safer due to the way it works and the amount that would have to be ingested by a pet or child for it to actually have ill effets on them... the metaldehyde type is more directly poisonous.... if you are against these type of baits... simply use old glass ashtrays, the translucent clear smooth glass kind..and fill them with beer...the ash trays will set heavily in your beds... not be too unattractive...will be smooth enough the slugs will travel nicely over them.. and the beer will attract them nicely into a pool of drowning... use a full flavored beer..preferably something with a strong smell like budweiser...works twice as good as some cheap light beers like busch light... promise this lol....spot spraying with ammonia and hunting with a flashlight is too much work btw! lol I've got a family and a job....
Good Luck

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 8:01PM
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i had the same problem last year, but taking the advice of a few members on this board, used Sluggo.


start early in the season, and apply every 2 to 3 weeks, don't have to use alot, i apply about 2-3 oz, for 200 sf of hosta beds.

no problems this year. havent seen one slug.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 8:16PM
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bernd ny zone5

Except, who can afford Sluggo when it costs 3 times as much as Bug-Getta with the same results. There were several posts on this forum that Sluggo being safe is not true because the phosphate is treated with some chemical, which is harmful.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 8:53PM
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Here is the article Bernd... I've never much purchased Sluggo... I buy Worry Free... another Iron Phosphate bait.. its only like 12 bucks a bag... when Bug-Getta(metaldehyde) is like 9 or so I think....I know Bug-Getta is supposed to be sprayed to taste bitter to discourage pets and children from eating it... but it takes much less of it to poison... Its supposed to take quite a bit of the iron phosphate baits to poison... like I figured my 15 lb shih tzu would have to eat a whole bag to reach the toxicity level of imminent death...which is unlikely to happen since I keep it stored up and I don't let him outside alone... let alone peruse through my hosta beds lol.....so I chose to buy the iron phosphate baits which work extremely well... I don't use any circles of protection around my hostas... just scattering the bait has worked extremely well... but if I were to avoid the baits all together and use the encircling with diatomaceous earth or whatever else abrasive trick...I would use the beer traps as well....whether you want to protect your hostas this fall or not... you still need to be baiting, trapping and causing great harm to the slug population.... for they will just breed and return in stronger numbers next spring! Fight the Good Fight! Check link below for good discussion on iron phosphate vs. metaldehyde slug baits!! and link inside the thread to a great article provided by Caliloo herself!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Iron Phosphate - not as pet friendly as we thought!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 9:41PM
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When I read about individually encircling my hosta with ANYTHING I look out at the hundreds I have and say Not this year..I tried beer traps in the beginning when I had one-three beds. Between squirrels,dogs, cats,stripped gophers I couldn't keep them full. They wouldn't last a day. Ammonia is labor intensive to be sure, but it is sooooo rewarding! What I know is rain + mulch=SLUGS!! I did not find sluggo effective. It might be worth a try for you, it seems to work for many.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 9:49PM
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Arcy, I know what you mean. I bought DE earlier this year to do just that and I did 1... yes, 1 and said the heck with it. I wasn't about to do 400. And then have to re-do it after a rain.

I will say that the 1 that I did... it didn't see any additional slug damage after getting its ring.

A word on Sluggo vs Bug Getta. Though I find that they are equally effective when it's dry out, I find that Iron Phosphate (usually Sluggo, but I used the Bonide product) lasts longer if it is more rainy out. Metaldehyde tends to dissolve on contact with water, where Iron Phosphate doesn't dissolve as quickly.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 11:04PM
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Oh yeah.. how could I fail to mention....pinestraw.com... the most effective way to keep slugs out of your hosta beds lol... slugs hate pine needles... makes a wonderful mulch and slug deterrent... I've also been contemplating purchasing a large melting pot and cooking up some pennies to coat some aluminum rings to make permanent circles around my hostas... or just purchasing the copper ribbon and making the circles with it...these would be permanent circles of protection... and might not sell bad to hostaholics on ebay lol....I could incorporate a labeling idea onto them and maybe some shadow scenes of ivy possibly... would be a neat product... now to acquire some investors... any takers? lol

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 11:29PM
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Not here it doesn't. My ring of hosta around my pine tree, that sheds needles liberally, are just as damaged as the ones under the oaks. I wish it did!!

I like the Ortho Get-A-Bug because it lasts 6 weeks, even in the rain.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 6:26AM
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really? that surprises me.. they work quite well for us here in kentucky... do you have a crazy bad infestation? or maybe we've just got something native that distracts them a bit as well...mmm...will have to do some thinking.... lol

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 7:30AM
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bernd ny zone5

I do Bug-Getta every 3 weeks, have only 150 hostas I actually treat. I like that the dead slugs will be seen after they have their slimy end, whereas slugs after eating Sluggo crawl into hiding to die I read here. I like to get feedback after treatment.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 8:03AM
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I've got one hosta bed under a huge pine and the slugs here don't mind those needles at all. My slugs also don't fall for the beer traps, at all. I found sluggo to be completely ineffective here as well. I would go out and find slugs on a hosta when there was Sluggo all around that it they could be eating instead. I've heard Bug-Getta (metaldehyde) is quite effective but can't risk it with my dogs. Haven't had any luck with coffee grounds, after it rains once. I may try the D. Earth next year on my potted minis, but having to reapply rings around big hosta every time it rains or you water sounds like a major hassle

I have made copper rings out of thick copper foil and found that to work great- IF you can fix it so that the slugs cannot crawl under the ring or access the plant from a neighboring plant that overlaps, etc. You need to make sure there aren't any baby slugs or eggs in there before you put the ring on. Also, the copper must be at least three inches high. I captured a slug and placed it within a copper ring and observed him for an hour or two. He would try to crawl out- he'd get about 2" up and then head back down. He tried several times and then gave up. The ones I have in copper rings have had either no or minimal damage. It's not foolproof, but it's a pretty good deterrant.

And the other thing I do is lay out bits of lettuce all over the place, which they like more than hosta, believe it or not. Then I go out at night and/or early morning and look for them on or near the lettuce and spray them with the diluted ammonia. I kill thousands that way.

p.s. I captured a slug yesterday and tested out a ring of crushed oyster shells around it, thinking he might not like that texture. Slug didn't seem to mind crawling over that at all, even though pieces of shell were sticking to it like breading! In fact I think he kind of liked it because once he got out of the ring, he went back in. I've also tested sand and sandpaper and those didn't work, either.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 8:28AM
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Thanks, everyone. I guess I know what I'll be doing this weekend. I feel bad about killing them, because I only have the small ones, and I think they're adorable with their little antennae. However, when they start messing with my hosta, it's all-out war.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 10:44AM
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I kind of feel bad killing them too, Lois. Unlike cutworms, who I am happy to kill! Maybe because they are so slow and helpless looking. I feel especially bad killing them when they are on the lettuce I leave out for them as a trap. After all, they aren't bothering the hosta at that moment! If only I could train them to stay off the hosta, I'd have zero problems with snails or slugs. I even have a snail statue in my garden...to honor the fallen, lol.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 12:06PM
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I'm sitting here chuckling! Your the first person I've ever heard of that thinks a slug is adorable!LOL.I use worry free and it last for along time, even when it rains.It just swells up and and stays put.It really kills the slugs and it doesn't hurt my two little dogs. I tried coffee grounds,but that didn't work.Instead of putting beer in an ashtray,I sit on my patio, watch the slugs disappear and drink the beer!LOL Judy

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 12:13PM
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This one is kind of cute. (first attempt at posting a pic)

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 12:37PM
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I needed a good laugh today.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 2:15PM
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Good Stuff! Yeah schoolb1... I would be a spokesperson for worry free... its all I've used all year and its worked fantastic.....

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 11:02PM
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