We have been having to find inventive ways to out smart them and even then I do something I know is stupid like putting some tomato seedlings in WOW's,, only to peek in them today and see a couple missing to slugs..All our greens have to be on a table these days, we will be doing some container boxes with copper tape wrapped around them for the cukes which get hit hard.Other seedlings are having to be planted in the greenhouse and get large enough they can take loosing a couple of leaves,taters are being bag planted this year as well so they cannot eat all the seed potatoes and leave the new ones looking like swiss cheese, definitely added work but at least we will have a nice producing garden by June,,One thing I have found is to also take the organic slug stuff out and spread it along the seedlings as you plant them or as the seeds come up..It does save some plants.and cuts back on having to do the entire gardens,, although we have done ours 3 times already. We also do the walk about with the 1 to 10 ration for ammonia and water in a spray bottle and spray a couple times a night it works as a foliar feeding for the plants and kills the slugs right off plus it is not toxic if anything comes along to eat the dead ones..I see our cats have been trying to help with the slug problem this year,, ummmmm they have been eating them and throwing up all over so I hope they get over that soon,, Hope you can find a way to deal with yours we have thousands of square feet of gardens so some methods are just not feasible for us..People who do not have slug problems quite often tell us it is our gardens and the mulches etc,, LOL,, all our neighbors have the same problems as we do and none of them have mulches some of them only have grass and a few landscape plants that get hit but they still have the dang things sliming everywhere just as we do..
We wish you well in the search of surviving the slug attacks..
*The theory was that the chickens were going to A: be in a chicken tractor and B: were going to eliminate our annoying red ants (seem to be imported european fire ants.)
In practice, the lack of sufficiently flat terrain meant the chickens were soon waltzing under the edge of the tractor, and while they were quite good with eating the slugs and snails, they never expressed the least interest in ants, even when we dug up a nest in front of them. Once the hawks got interested, free ranging was no longer an option.
Traps (well, really shelter, but if you collect them often enough they are a trap) are another way to get them - A board on the ground will do - they gather under it in the hot sun. Beer (yeast and sugar works as well, or as not well, and is cheaper) traps rarely work for me - a few drown, too many slither in, tank up, and slither out, somewhat wobbly and probably looking for a TV with sports on. Copper wire seems to work for me, but it's tedious, if something gets across it they can avoid it, and you can find pictures of slugs crossing copper, eggshells, coffee grounds, ashes .... most of the home remedies - so your slugs may vary with any approach that's not catching and killing (or eating) them. And then there was the time that the "slug damage" turned out to be chipmunks with a salad fetish.
The idea of putting salt out is one I'd avoid. Some suggest a 1:1 (I see Mary gets results with 1:10, so that's evidently overkill) household ammonia/water spray as a means of killing slugs (go out at night with a flashlight and a spray bottle) but I'm not a big fan of ammonia in the garden, or of things that kill significant "bycatch" - and I have to think that approach would also kill earthworms, not to mention a (likely insignificant number of, unless massively drenched rather than sprayed) certain smaller soil organisms/fungi/etc. that we want. Better than salt, and supposedly good for getting the ones too small to cut (claim you can see their eyes reflecting to know where to aim.) With some of the infestations that are quite out of hand I could see going there, at least as a temporary measure.
I envy people with flat land who can use animal tractors, the only land I have that's level is in my kitchen, predators almost all can be defeated accept the flying ones and the ones that slither. Until i see a trap or a barrier technique that's got slugs by the 1000's I've given up on even considering it.
What I do have to accept is you can rear poultry as juvenile within a garden setting but they have to range with no parents or flocks as the ducks do in rice culture. In that state their highly carnivorous and are small enough not to damage seedlings and early starts at the time of year when slugs commit act's of plant genocide. Which is right now! summer their minor, winter when the adults break egg cycles their underground and in the fall nobody seems to care. Jeuviniles from 2 weeks old up to 12 weeks are just the ticket in the garden as the plants head into summer and the insects die back your meat is coming into fine condition and you can take them out of the garden before their appetite turns to greens. I'm still tossing and turning over the incubator issue, as one always tries to side on the lines of natural. But I think this week i'm buying one and getting over this hangup because what I've found in nature is as much death as there is life. Fourteen 25 day old lives are snuffed out by a single coyote scare and all the hard work the mother has put in goes out the window. Most of us with a permanent parent flock know those select few have a wonderful long life in exchange for many of their children getting a vigorous taste of life. It's not hard to time the hatching of an army of mini garden defenders with the emergence of mature slugs and their offspring micro slugs.
I wish it were a permaculture solution like tossing around this or that, but if the technique cant work in the macro then let's not pretend it truly works in the micro. As happy as I was with the stun gun for a few days I knew I had really solved nothing as I could never do it over an acre. I don't live in the subtropics with the scale of the garden is so massive that adult's can range in a woody and herbaceous understory, so for the temperate un chicken tractored landscape I think I'm going to settle on taking a page out of akao furuno's book and head towards a comprehensive system of cycles approach and accept I have no solution that will work overnight.
Ash does work to make slugs travel as fast as lightning but all it does is get them to go back into the ground in order to wipe it off then there back up, I've tested it enough times while smoking and looking for slugs. It only works as long as it doesn't rain and how many days can your plants go in that situation, not to mention slugs are only out before, after and during rain.
Perhaps there is a factory finish on the copper tape which keeps the "slug juice" from contacting the copper. I am not sure and it does seem as if it would be a pain to do the extra step of abrading the surface while it is still on the roll but that may solve the issue or maybe the "copper deterrent" is just an "old wives tale."
paul wheaton wrote:Copper tape does NOT control slugs
Dave Bennett wrote:Perhaps there is a factory finish on the copper tape which keeps the "slug juice" from contacting the copper. I am not sure and it does seem as if it would be a pain to do the extra step of abrading the surface while it is still on the roll but that may solve the issue or maybe the "copper deterrent" is just an "old wives tale."
paul wheaton wrote:Copper tape does NOT control slugs
it would be a pain to do the extra step of abrading the surface while it is still on the roll but that may solve the issue or maybe the "copper deterrent" is just an "old wives tale."
There are videos that show copper tape working as well as it not working..It really seems to depend on the slug itself ,,We go from our personal experience in the gardens....And have seen both...
Slugs are kind of like deer who enjoy plants that they say they will not touch..What we have found is that the smaller slugs do not like to cross the wider strips of copper..The large slugs seem to slime across it much easier some even can reach over the top.I am thinking it has something to do with the amount of heavier slime the large ones produce versus the thinner slime and thinner skin the small ones tend to have...As well as the difference in bodily contact with the copper...
When we suggest copper as a deterrent we tend to suggest a double row about a 1/2 inch apart for container gardening or raised beds....In large gardens it could get quite expensive to even try and add copper everywhere especially with it only working in the 75 percent ratio..At the demo we did a week ago we set up a square foot trellis planter box for cucumbers which does have a double band of copper for the slug protection.We will be doing a year trial on several of these this year in our gardens along with the usual .We used a couple smaller containers last year with copper tape which appeared to work well...The copper tape they sale for slugs has a ridiculous price tag for 15 ft..If people find it works for them and they cannot find a recycled source they can buy the copper stained glass tape at a fraction of the price,, Is it worth the effort or the cost or does one want that much copper in their gardens..We have not went that far because it does not work efficient enough to put out the cash for it.. ...
DE is a common slug barrier,, but it only works if it is dry and must be reapplied,,You can get just as good of results with dry unbleached flour or ashes that is reapplied and much cheaper....
We are always game to give a try to anything that may work that we have not tried..Handpicking is not feasible in gardens the size of ours and neither are turning the birds out to do damage and get ate by the predators living in the area..We have one escapee right now doing damage to the plantings,, she is going to have to go....
paul wheaton wrote:Copper tape does NOT control slugs
Cool! When I looked at that vid on YouTube, I saw that it was a response to one of yours! And I appreciate Mary James' observations, too.
the stuff I use is way thicker then what is shown in the video..that looks more like what I use doing faux finishes for work.. Mine is not something you can just tear off like that it takes scissors to cut it.I also use copper sheeting scraps
In response to the other messages about coatings on copper,, if it is good copper that is not sealed to stay pretty and shiny,,,, acids, fertilizers and all types of things will create a verdigris or color changes based on what your using...Some coppers are clear coated which affect their usage for slugs and artwork or jewelry,,
and some cheap foils or tapes are not fully copper,,some are more like the old school teaching we did with the kids using vinegar and salt soaking pennies then taking the solution and placing nails or screws in it making a copper plated item.. not the same for slug shocking experiments..
If that's true, I did notice that the experiment looked to be on a not dirt surface.
DE only works if it stays dry. When it stops raining, I'm going to set up 'the feeding-station of death': a rectangular plastic plant-pot 'saucer' with a pile of delicious brewer's yeast in the middle and a ring of DE round the outside. Then I need to rig up a roof to keep it all dry.
Watch out, DE will cut up your lungs. It looks a lot like cornflour and I've always been a bit nervous that in a moment of madness I'll sniff it to find out!
Chris Kott wrote:So would the fact that crushed egg shells and used coffee grounds make up a large part of my weekly compost contributions mean that my compost will be slug bane, or would the composting break them down too much?
My understanding is that you create a barrier with these items - a wall if you will - that the slugs will not cross. I am not sure if they will work together. I think the general idea is you want to mess with the slug's slime and that will stop them in their tracks.
Hope this helps,
Whenever I contemplated trying the 'barrier effect,' I had a hard time figuring out how you kept it from turning into a mini-zoo where the slugs happily roamed inside. We find slug eggs just about anywhere.
Beer in tuna-fish cans worked OK - you can leave the old slugs in it for a few days, the new ones don't seem to mind. I would put it out maybe once a week in the springtime when things were really tender, and cut down the numbers until the drier weather started to work in our favor. I tried to get a beer dish within about 2 feet of any given plant.
I only rarely was able to bring myself to use 'bad' beer - for the dollar or two difference, I wanted something I could enjoy having around the house. They didn't seem to mind what flavor, though I did feel that medium seemed to work better than very dark. I could just pour about 1/4" in the dish, leave room for the rain to dilute it somewhat and it still worked. When it got dry enough that the beer would dry up instead of diluting, the slug activity had died down too.
For a larger area, where hand-picking isn't feasible, and beer is too fiddly:
We used to lay out a sheet of cardboard every yard or two - the slugs would hide under it, and you can pick them up en masse and scrape them off into your preferred disposal. One family I stayed with in NZ would collect a yogurt-tub of them (well, snails), and then feed it to their chickens the next morning as the chickens weren't active at night when the snails were out.
Now I'm on the dry side, and still struggling with the notion that there are no slugs here to worry about. None? Apparently not - not only is the moisture too low, but there's also some property of the local soils (volcanic ash and fire-aspected forest soils) that supposedly works a little like DE and keeps down the populations of fleas etc. I have noticed a healthy amount of crickets and beetles, though, so it can't be that awful.
Alex Ames wrote:
Dr Temp wrote:i hear gum balls from 'sweet gum trees' work wonders.
If i find some slugs, will trap them in a circle of gum balls and see how it works.
I am hedging them out by circling the seedlings due to your mention of sweet gum balls.
This could be an answer for me! If I was growing huge numbers of plants it wouldn't but
in the small number of annual seedlings I put out I think it is very fiendish if nothing else.
I believe if I was a slug I would go elsewhere!
If there is anything I have in equal abundance as slugs it is sweet gum balls. The photo shows
slug damage on the marigold but that was prior to today's installation of the "slug solution".
How'd the sweetgum balls work out?