Saturday, 8 March 2008

SLUGBUSTERS: Ailing Slug Ale

If there's something every gardener loves to hate, it's gotta be a slug.
These slimy creatures are every gardener's scourge. Personally I have nothing against slugs. As long as they don't mess with my plants. And still then I don't have the heart to kill them with my own hands so I prudishly let the traps do it for me. Sometimes I feel merciful and just pick them up and throw them over the neighbour's fence ( "carry on fellas, you'll be better off amid his salad beds ") . Slugs can ruin tender young vegetables in just a few nights of munching away. But that's not how they got their beer bellies. They will drink themselves to death when you offer them this aromatic concoction. Although it's best to do this in autumn to reduce their population and prepare yourselves for spring when gardens are brimming with young, tender plants that slugs like best, anytime's a good time.


  • 1 quart unpasteurized beer
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking yeast
  • plastic milk jug or large glass jar
  • fifteen 1-quart plastic yogurt containers
  1. Mix ingredients together in the milk jug or jar. If you're not sure whether the beer is unpasteurized or not, check the bottle label.
  2. Let the mixture sit in a warm place for a few days (70°F/21°C), until you see bubbles form
  3. While the mixture is brewing, make some slug traps by cutting openings 1 inch high x 2 inches wide in the sides of the yogurt containers (see illustration)
  4. Pour the beery brew about ½ inch deep into the yogurt containers and replace the lids
  5. Bury the yogurt containers around your garden so that the openings in the sides are about ¼ inch above the soil line
  6. You'll have enough brew to fill about 15 slug traps

NOTE: When setting the traps, make sure that the windows in the traps are just a little higher than ground level to keep ground beetles from falling in. Ground beetles eat slug eggs, so the more of them you have, the better. Empty, clean and refill the traps every 3 days; slugs like fresh beer (who doesn't), they won't go in there if it smells like bacteria.

(from the book ' Great garden formulas')

Other solutions that work for me, from time to time:
  • diatomaceous earth ( (tiny fossilized skeletons of ancient aquatic diatoms): when slugs come in contact with it, it is abrasive to their skin;the tiny, sharp-edged granules cut the soft-bodied slugs and cause them to dehydrate; reapply after each rainfall for it is most effective when used in dry conditions and has little effect when it absorbs moisture
  • sawdust, wood ash, crushed egg-shells, pine needles, builder's sharp sand
  • encourage frogs into your garden pond (and teach cats not to eat them)
  • hand-picking
  • putting a sign ' SLUGS YOU CAN END IT ALL HERE' in my veg garden
  • do not rely on your garden hedgehogs to eat them (although they mainly eat beetles and caterpillars not slugs and snails; they will only eat slugs if starving) as the slugs are the primary carriers of lungworm which is the biggest killer of hedgehogs except for demented humans and their careless behaviour; when the lungworms breed inside the hedgehog they rapidly multiply, fill the hedgehog's lungs and the hedgehog dies in agony from a fatal type of pneumonia or bleeding from the lungs
  • no pesticides welcome

3 komentari:

Melanie said...

Slugaphobia, yuck! Thanks for the good ideas here, I've tried the beer and can say that it works very well. My only problem is picking up that container with dead slugs.

I scatter a ring of eggshells around specific plants that I'm concerned about. Also putting out grapefruit halfs turned over is a good way to trap them and find them but it doesn't kill them, that's up to you.

Viooltje said...

I know. What an overpowering smell! Especially if you forget (intentionally or not) about cleaning them traps and then while lazing on a sunny afternoon, this familiar wiff spreads through the air. And no, it's not cabbage!
Thx for visiting my blog, for it gave me the pleasure of discovering all that great garden stuff and tips of yours. Respect!

lintys said...

I have slugaphobia for sure. I don't mind picking up worms but I hate when a slug gets stuck to my finger. It's a complete gross out. I have so many slugs in my shady garden. Like Melanie I find eggshells around the plants helps. We have too many slugs and not enough egg shells though.

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