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Posted by MarsMars 7a Tulsa (My Page) on
Mon, May 19, 14 at 15:57

I live in midtown Tulsa (urban area away from creeks, woods, etc...) and have been seeing around 30-60 slugs a night in my garden. They are in my raised beds and "berry patch", likely attracted by the enriched soil and the fungus which subsequently grows but they are also present in the lawn. Based on pictures online, they appear to mostly be leopard slugs.

However, they do not seem to be eating any of my plants. What little insect damage I have had, I believe is attributable to nocturnal caterpillars/cutworms. I originally believed the slugs were responsible, so I have been killing the slugs.

I first tried using a partially submerged container filled with some beer. This resulted in killing zero slugs. I watched some take a drink and leave. One fell in and promptly climbed back out. I did not feel like wasting any more beer.

I have not bought any products to kill them as I am cheap and in general, like to limit the chemicals I introduce into my garden.

I have been killing the slugs by hand (flashlight, needle nose pliers, salt water or smashing=neighbors likely think I am nuts, but after some of my other projects, I think that ship sailed a while ago). Due to my slightly obsessive traits, the slug eradication has been cutting in to time in which I should be sleeping.

My questions: Is this a normal amount of slugs for an urban area in Tulsa? Should I keep killing them because once they run out of other food sources they will start eating my plants and by that time they will have reproduced into even greater numbers and be even larger/hungrier? Besides eggshells, are there other things I could be doing to make the area less habitable for the slugs? Should I move on to chemicals as the 30-60 slugs I kill may just be the tip of the iceberg of how many are actually present? Or should I stop killing them since they are not doing any damage currently and I tend not to kill bugs just because they are disgusting slimy things.

Thank you in advance for any insights.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: slugs

My first couple years of gardening I would find a lot of slugs. I, too, went hunting at night for them :) I tried the beer traps and I would spray them with ammonia. I didn't want to use salt because it would be in the soil.

I don't know for sure what turned the tide, but I added a toad or two to the garden and I haven't had too much trouble since.

(edit: it is really terrible when you can't even spell your own name correctly!)

This post was edited by lisa_h on Sun, May 25, 14 at 22:13

RE: slugs

You might try using coffee grounds.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to use recycled coffee grounds in your garden

RE: slugs

You can use an organic product called Slug-Go. Its' active ingredient is iron phosphate and it breaks down into iron that does not harm your garden. There also is a Slug-Go Plus which is the regular Slug-Go to which Spinosad has been added. The Slug-Go Plus is effective not only on slugs and snail but on pillbugs, sowbugs and cutworms as well. I'd never use the chemical snail and slug baits that contain metaldahyde, which can be harmful to some pets and to some wildlife, but I use the Slug-Go Plus when needed.

RE: slugs

I used Sluggo-plus two years ago for a pill worm problem. The pill worms were eating seedlings, killing my artichoke by munching on the roots and even getting in the house!
I have only seen a couple of pills or,s this year and none last year. It also killed all the pincer bugs and a few other ground dwelling pests.
That is some amazing stuff and really safe to use!

RE: slugs

i didn't know that i had slugs or snails until today. i had a pot tray turned upside down in the garden, and when i turned it over, there they were. i killed them. nice to know about slug-go and coffee grinds. will try to grinds first. or i can turn the tray over and check it now and then. using the tray is easier than going outside at night because they are using it to sleep during the day. hope you get rid of the slugs mars.

RE: slugs

I live in Brookside, and slugs are a problem for me too. Their favorite food seems to be my cannas and hostas. I've found fresh cedar mulch around my prized plants seems to keep them at bay. After about a year, the mulch seems to lose its effectiveness, so I reapply annually.

RE: slugs

Thank you for all of the advice. I tried the coffee grounds, added the ground eggshells, and switched for a time to spraying them with vinegar. I kept thinking that if I killed enough of them by hand and made the area less amenable for them, I could at least reduce their numbers and not have to buy any chemicals. After spending many late nights getting rid of them, we got that rain last week and it appeared that their numbers seem to at least double .

So I overcame my stubbornness, admitted defeat, and bought the sluggo plus. I sprinkled it outside of, at the base of my raised vegetable beds, and a few hot spots around my backyard. I applied it on Friday and watched a few slugs eat the pellets (some slugs ate multiple pellets). I still see a few slugs around when I look at night but a significant drop in population.

Based on my rain gauge, I got 2.25 inches of rain last night, so we will see if their numbers rebound and if I need to reapply.

Thanks again for the advice on Sluggo Plus, I had no idea that Oklahoma has what seems to be an endless supply of slugs.

RE: slugs

You need to import a toad or two to your yard....they will make a dent for you.

RE: slugs

Lisa- I just did a bit of research on this and was wondering if you recommend placing a toad house and small water feature out to attract a toad or try to find a toad to bring home. Not sure where I would try to capture a toad, any recommendations? I had a small toad in my yard last year but have not seen one this year.

The idea of making a toad "house" sounds like an awesome project to do with my daughter.

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