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Use Toads for Slug Control?  RSS feed

 
Z. Leigh
Posts: 4
Location: Maine
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Hello-

It's been a rainy spring up here in Maine, and the slugs are out with a vengeance. My tulips are getting chomped, and I walked into the greenhouse today to see a bunch of my celery seedlings munched on! I'm 75% positive it's slugs... possibly it could be another pest I'm not aware of.

I'm setting out beer traps and have sprinkled coffee grounds around the tulips (I know this might be an old wive's tale, but thought I'd try anyway). My next thought was that I could build a little toad house in the greenhouse. I'm wondering if anyone has done this before, had success or no? The greenhouse can get rather warm, so I'm not sure if the toad would like it. But I do like the idea of a toad eating slugs instead of me just killing slugs (perhaps I'm too soft).

Anyhow, ideas appreciated! Thank you.
 
Casie Becker
gardener
Posts: 1474
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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In my experience, toads want a consistently damp bit of protected earth where they can dig a burrow. Not muddy, pretty much the exact level of moisture when soil is most soft and friable. I've had several dig homes under the rocks bordering my garden beds over the years.

My dad used to have a relationship with a toad in our back yard. It would wait in the ivy until my dad came outside to water all the potted plants on the patio. While my dad went around with the house it would hop across the concrete patio to the small set of stairs and into the flower pot shaped like a giant frog, arriving just in time for my dad to water the plant and the toad together. They're great garden companions.
 
Z. Leigh
Posts: 4
Location: Maine
books dog tiny house
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That's hilarious! And good to know. Wet, but not muddy. I think the green house might be too hot for it, so I'm thinking just outside the greenhouse door underneath a broken pot or something.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 2988
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Along with the toad, ground beetles, birds, glass lizards (slowworm in England) and even hedgehogs are natural predators of slugs then there is the Duck, king of slug eaters.

On Buzzard's Roost we have not seen any signs of slugs but we do have toads, ground beetles, lots of birds and glass lizards, maybe that is why we don't seen evidence of slugs.

We like to provide toad holes made of old clay pots with a stone weight (our leopard dog loves to hunt toads and lizards) on top, these are placed in spaces where they are hard to see, which seems to be what our toads like for living spaces.



 
Mike Turner
Posts: 329
Location: Upstate SC
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There are several toads resident in my hoop house to control slugs since I don't allow my ducks access in the hoop house. It's a shade house during the summer, so it stays moist and cooler than outside.  I haven't make any houses for them since they will dig their burrows in the soil without any prompting from me.  The slug population dropped markedly after the toads were introduced.
 
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