Slugs, or naked snails as they are often called, enjoy feasting on most garden foliage. You’ll know that slugs have visited you by the holes they put in various leaves, and the silver slime trail they leave behind. Since they can do a fair amount of damage to a wide variety of plants, it is best to find a way to completely eliminate them from your garden.
ELIMINATE WET CONDITIONS: Slugs are mainly nocturnal and are attracted to moist areas. You can find them hiding under rocks, pieces of wood, mulch, rubbish, over turned pots, etc. Rid your garden of garbage and eliminate wet conditions. You should also use a soaker hose instead of an overhead sprinkler, which will water where the plant needs it most and not leave droplets of water in undesirable places. Water your garden in the morning or early afternoon. Since slugs are nocturnal in nature, watering at night only draws them out even more.
SLUG BAITS: There are various slug baits on the market that will attract and kill the pests, but they make use of chemicals. Although these work well, they are not recommended for gardeners growing edible plants or gardening organically.
NATURAL PREDATORS: Birds, frogs, salamanders, and snakes enjoy a slug meal, and will gladly rid your garden of these annoyances. Take measures to attract slug predators, and you may just find your slugs disappearing.
GRIT: Slugs are slimy and relatively delicate creatures. If you litter the ground surrounding your plants with gritty substances, slugs will not cross over it for fear of ripping their bellies open. These substances include crushed eggshells, sandpaper, pine needles, sand, powdered chalk, and anything else along these lines. Ensure the substance that you choose to use will not harm the plants you are using it near.
SALT: Not only is it coarse and destructive to the slug’s delicate skin, but a chemical reaction also occurs between the slug and salt, and the slug melts.
GARLIC OIL: Garlic does more than drive the slug away. Garlic causes slugs to produce mucous in great amounts, which eventually causes the slug to dry up. Look for concentrated garlic oil at your local health food store.
BEER TRAP: Collect the tops of canning jars, sink them slightly into the ground near plants that are being attacked by the slugs, and pour beer into them. Because slugs are attracted to the yeast in beer, they will climb in and be unable to get back out, and therefore drown. When using this option, remember to check the traps daily to clean out the drowned slugs.
MANUAL COLLECTION: Although this is a time-consuming method, it is surprisingly effective. It requires going into your garden after dark and manually collecting the slugs from your plants. After they are all picked off, resist throwing them in the garbage. Slugs are very good climbers! Instead, drop them into a bucket of water (add dish soap or salt if you wish) and wait for them to drown before tossing them in the trash.
There are several different methods for ridding your garden of slugs, and it is best to keep trying until you find the method that works for you. Good luck, and happy gardening.