Do you have a question about slugs? Submit it here and one of our experts will attempt to answer as soon as they can.
Q: When do you think is the best time to control slugs in the PNW?
A: Fall seedling establishment is problematic because of slug pressure. The highest above ground populations occur in October and November. After rains begin in the fall, adult slugs rise from below the ground and begin feeding at the surface. The window of opportunity for baiting is tight. Target the adults in the fall before they lay eggs and before it is too cold or too wet to enter field. Weather conditions affect the efficacy of bait and activity levels. If you can’t get into the field in the fall, then treat early in the spring. Remember, that young neonates are hard to kill as they don’t feed much on baits. Bait early before egg laying and just before seedlings emerges. In some cases, it may be best to bait slugs before working the soil, particularly if the site has a history of problems.
Q: What conditions are best for applying baits to kill adult slugs?
A: Favorable conditions include: Moisture, an important factor governing slug distribution and activity; A combination of vegetation, deep mulch or debris, temperature above freezing (40-70F), low wind speed (<5 mph) and frequent irrigation favor slugs. Consequently, minimizing irrigation may reduce slug problems.
Q: Where are some other places in the world that deal with slug problems?
A: Western Europe, UK, Spain, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, Pennsylvania, etc.
Q: What are some creative ways to manage slugs in the backyard?
A: The following are a few ways:
- Fine ash or diatomaceous earth can act as a desiccant circling plants that dries the slug out.
- A container half buried in the ground and half filled with yeast, water, and sugar (similar to beer) can lure slugs in and they will drown. Slugs prefer cheap beer over Oregon's famed microbrews.
- Take an old brick, roof shingle, damp carpet piece, or a small board and place in garden to provide a cool daytime slug hiding place. In the mornings, look under it and dispose of the slugs found sheltering.
- Remove slugs from plants at night early fall or early spring to reduce numbers. Pick off and drown in soapy warm bucket of water.
- To protect beds or flower pots, use copper rings, or copper tape barriers to discourage a slug from crossing. Slug’s slime reacts with copper to produce a tiny electric shock that deters it from getting to your plants.
- If you see slug eggs (from clear to white color), remove from garden.
Did you know? (from www.slugoff.co.uk/slug-facts/facts; http://www.slugbell.com/slug-facts-11-c.asp; https//deanshangerallotments.wordpress.com/slugs/)
- A slug's blood has a greenish color.
- A group of slugs is known as a "cornucopia". One, two, three, four, five, six..... cornucopia is the collective noun for slugs.
- Slugs eat rotting and living vegetation, but a few are carnivorous.
- Slugs do play an important role in ecology by eating decomposing vegetation.
- A slug lays 20-100 eggs several times a year, depending on the species.
- Slug eggs can lay dormant in the soil for years and then hatch when conditions are right.
- Gastropods (ie. slugs and snails) form the second largest class in the animal kingdom, the largest being the insects.
- Slugs are hermaphrodite, having both male and female reproductive organs.
- Slugs have been present in the British Isles since the end of the last ice age.
- Under favorable conditions some slug species can live for up to 6 years.
- A slug is basically a muscular foot, and the name ‘gastropod’ literally means stomach foot.
- Unlike snails that hibernate during winter, slugs are active whenever the temperature is above 5°C.
- A slug is essentially a snail without an external shell.
- Slug ancestors used to live in the ocean, which is why they still need to keep moist.
- One individual field slug has the potential to produce about 90,000 grandchildren.
- British gardeners use over 400 billion slug pellets every year.
- It’s been estimated that an acre of farmland may support over 250,000 slugs.
- Research has shown that the average UK garden has a population of over 20,000 slugs and snails.
- A cubic metre of garden can contain an average of up to 200 slugs.
- A slug’s slime enables it to glide without difficulty over glass shards, or even the edge of a razor blade.
- Slugs have the capability to reproduce by themselves, although a mate is preferred.
- When picked up or touched, the Black Slug will contract into a hemispherical shape and begin to rock from side to side. This behaviour confuses predators.
- Slugs leave their own individual scent trail so they can find their way home.
- A slug’s slime absorbs water, which is why it’s nearly impossible to wash it off your hands.
- A slug’s slime contains fibres which prevents it from sliding down vertical surfaces.
- A slug smells with its tentacles.
- Britain is home to around 30 species of slug.
- Some slugs can stretch out to 20 times its normal length, enabling it to squeeze through the smallest of openings.
- A slug has approximately 27,000 teeth – that’s more teeth than a shark.
- Like sharks, slugs routinely lose and replace their teeth.
- When a slug loses one of its sensory tentacles it grows another, usually within a few months.
- Vinegar is a good ingredient to make a slug spray, and for removing slug slime.