Never seen more slugs in my life . Seek advice

mrtulinJune 13, 2012

I don't think I've ever complained about bugs on a forum or sought help gettng rid of them. I'm astounded by the slugs on just about every large leaved or tender leaved plant. I'm revolted by them. I have no ecological sympathy or pesticide compunction about eliminating them or reducing their damage to an "acceptable" level. Which means, I don't mind some holes but I don't want all 6 leaves on my nicotiana skeletonized or all 25 leaves on my ligularia Britt Marie filled with tennis ball sized holes. And I don't want to touch them. It honestly turns my stomach. And I am not a wuss. But I will not hand pick at dusk which is my only time to garden after work, and is supposed to be relaxing. Hand picking slugs is not, Ir repeat, not relaxing.

Ah, I feel better, thank you very much. Now please help me deal with problem without killing birds or putting long lived pesticides in the soil. BTW, this is a huge garden....



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You might consider Sluggo, or a similar product. Yes, it needs to be shaken over the whole area, and that has to be repeated after a heavy rain. That can be done with one hand, though, you don't need to be very accurate in your aim, so think of all the fun you can have at the same time - like have a cocktail and stroll around your lovely garden.

And it's not cheap, but less expensive than when Sluggo was the only non-toxic slug remedy. Now that there are other brands, it's not quite so bad - you might find it in bulk somewhere, maybe on line. In my garden, which is about 1/4 the size of yours, a can lasts at least a year.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 9:57PM
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Marie - You have my heartfelt sympathy; slugs are disgusting! This brought back memories of a former garden where we were overrun by slugs one summer. We tried beer traps (didn't make a dent in the population) and beer traps with a bit of flour mixed in (ditto) and boards laid down so that the slugs would be easily squished by stepping on the boards when they hid under them (we would have had to pave the yard with boards to make a dent.) Crumbled eggshells on the ground were supposed to be too sharp for the slugs, but the birds ate them. Eventually we ended up making "slug-kabobs" ten-inch nails that we used to spike them and then drop them into a can of salt. The last may not have made any more of a dent than any of the other strategies, but it sure was satisfying in a revolting sort of way. Some other remedies we read about but didn't try were copper strips around all the gardens supposedly to set up an electrical charge on their bodies (too impractical and seemed suspect scientifically) and pool filter diatomaceous earth spread on the ground was supposed to slice them (but would have done the same to our lungs had we inhaled it.) They never were so bad in following seasons.

However, if you want a solution that's relatively safe to wildlife except for slugs and relatively effective try Sluggo. I know that you can order it from Hummingbird Farms in ME, but you may find some closer to home.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 10:04PM
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I don't remember the brand I use, but I make sure the active ingredient is iron phosphate. I buy it in pellet form -that way i can see it on the ground. One trick I learned - if you have a area where you plan to plant new seedlings, sprinkle the iron phosphate a few days ahead of time. That way you eliminate the slugs before planting.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 10:33PM
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Thanks, friends. Sluggo wins hands down. Gee, NHB, thanks for sharing your slug crucifixion story. I'll try not to include it in my nightly visualization as I fall to sleep. No hard feelings, friends are supposed to be honest!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 11:16PM
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terrene(5b MA)

There ARE a lot of slugs this year! My seedlings are under assault. Usually I sprinkle Sluggo or Escargo (iron phosphate slug bait) when planting a patch of seedlings, and that works very well.

Another very effective technique is a 25% ammonia solution that was recommended on the Hosta forum. It is amazing how well it works! The slugs dissolve on contact. Great for spraying on large Hostas or other particularly vulnerable plants and doesn't harm the plants at all. I experimented and a 12.5% solution works just as well and is less acrid. I only wonder if it harms any beneficial wildlife like toads??

I know it's almost 4 in the morning, but I just got in from "slug patrol" with the ammonia spray bottle and flashlight! To spray the seedlings that are still in containers and a few in the ground.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 3:55AM
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capecodder(z6 MA)

If you were near me, I'd give you one of my huge containers of Sluggo, somehow I bought 2...and I have seen few slugs this year. Sometimes I carry a salt shaker around with me and sprinkle the few I see (and always hope I don't cause "bad karma" that causes me to come back as a slug one day. Ha ha!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 7:51AM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

Capecodder, be careful with the salt. It's not good for your plants.

Terrene you are correct that 12% Ammonia and water is enough to melt the slimeys.

I'm using a combination of Sluggo, Ammonia and water solution (especially around my composter) and hand picking. Use flat rocks or boards as slug traps. Lay them near where the infestation is bad, then in the morning spray the hiding slugs with a little ammonia and water or just stamp on 'em. I actually found a slug on daffodil foliage!

One of the things I learned is that an ammonia and water soil drench in late March followed by a broadcast application of slug bait really keeps the population under control. The area of my garden where I did that is practically slug free. In the other areas, I'm fighting the battle as you all are.


    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 8:19AM
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Can't believe it--I was just coming here to make a similar post and found my fellow sufferers.

I have never had problems with slugs--some here and there but no big deal. This year is incredible and I wonder why. They are everywhere and on everything and totally revolting.

Do you think it was the warm winter?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 6:58PM
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rockman50(6b SEMASS)

Sluggo? Wasn't he a foe of Mr. Bill on Saturday Night Live back in the 1970's? I am really stretching my memory here! Sorry about the unhelpful derail but I couldn't resist.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 11:28AM
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