Effective Slug Controls
Slug is an outwardly rather cute gastropod, a slowly moving mollusk, which evolution deprived of a protective shell, that is, even a tiny shell, did not endow with poison in the body, but endowed it with extraordinary gluttony and secrecy. And this gluttony brings us, gardeners and gardeners, a lot of trouble. After all, it seems that the slug can gobble up all life in the garden! How to moderate his appetites? We will talk about effective methods to combat slugs in this publication.
- Slug Biology
- Slug propagation
- Harm from slugs
- Slug Controls
Biologically, the body of the slug itself has a head and a body that has a mantle and so-called leg. On the head there are two pairs of tentacles, one pair is shorter and directed down, the other is longer and directed up. On the long tentacles there are eyes and receptors responsible for the sense of smell, and on the lower tentacles are receptors that allow you to determine the taste of food.
In the center of the head there is a mouth opening. The mantle is located right behind the head, on the back of the mollusk, in the mantle there is a lung, just a little from the right side, a breathing hole, and the anal opening is not far away. The leg, in fact, is the lowest part of the body of the slug, and with the help of it it moves.
The skin of the slug is very thin, always covered with mucus, if the mucus dries for some reason, then the slug itself dies. Coloring may vary slightly, for example, be sand, gray, etc.
It is interesting that each individual slug is a hermaphrodite, that is, it has male and female genital organs, however, in order to lay eggs from which full slugs hatch, they still need mating. This process is sometimes funny, the slugs in the mating process seem to dance, wriggling around each other, finding a partner for a special smell, which, according to scientists, is unique to each individual, like fingerprints for you and me.
After mating (attention!), Each of the individuals participating in the process lays a couple of dozen eggs, using areas with highly moistened soil for the ovipositor, and after a month or a little less, small slugs emerge from the eggs, first feeding on the remains of organic matter in the soil. About a month and a half later, each of the slug larvae that are spawning is capable of reproduction and egg laying.
By the way, after the first laying, the slugs don’t need to mate again at all, the received “charge” will be enough to lay several hundred eggs. Just imagine how fast they can breed!
Harm from slugs
Special damage in the form of the often completely destroyed aerial parts of various cultures of slugs is inflicted in the southern regions, and in the center and to the north, where reproduction ceases with the onset of the first frosts and laid eggs rarely survive the winter, like the individuals themselves, which sharply limits their number, according to therefore, damage from slugs is not so great.
In order for the slugs to eat and digest all the plants in your garden, it is necessary that you do not show up there during the whole warm season, which should differ in early and warm spring, cool and rainy summers, and also in the fall and winter that there were no critical frosts.
There are a huge number of measures to combat slugs: from the sole of the boot to chemicals, but it is better to start with prevention. Perhaps, given certain subtleties and knowing the biology of the pest, you will reach a situation where no more than a couple of slugs miraculously appear on your site, which will not cause any serious damage.
The most important thing here is to observe the planting pattern, not to thicken the plants, to fight against weed vegetation, to observe cleanliness and order on the site and not to overdo it with watering. Particularly uncontrolled irrigation by sprinkling, when sprinklers are placed and water flies in all directions, generously wetting what is needed and what is not necessary at all.
Do not allow beds to overgrow with weeds, including row spacing, this is more than a convenient place for dislocation of slugs and for their reproduction.
Around November, just before the frost, dig up the soil on a full bayonet of a shovel, and leave it until spring. The slugs cannot physically hide deeply, they will die the very first winter, along with the laid eggs, so in the spring you will have a minimum of problems with the elimination of this pest.
In the spring, you can re-dig the site and also leave the clods unbroken for at least a couple of days, this is necessary in order to finish off the ovipositor that has wintered - now it just dries under the hot spring sunshine.
If you have the opportunity, then all the aisles and garden paths that are constant on the site from year to year can be covered with needles or small pebbles, for example, breaking several bricks. The fact is that slugs can easily move on a flat and moist surface, but on a “sharp”, dry terrain, they cannot move.
And of course, do not forget about the birds, however, they can also cause harm - by pecking the crown of the head on cherry or sea buckthorn, destroying part of the crop of snowberry or blueberry, but at the same time they will destroy all the slugs that they see on the site, so you can additionally hang the feeders in the winter, and then in the spring the birds will definitely return to your site.
In addition to birds, hedgehogs eat slugs with pleasure, so that they come to your site, you can organize somewhere in the corner of the kindergarten the most primitive pond - just dig a plastic basin and fill it with water.
Plants vs. Slugs
According to a number of gardeners, slugs can even scare away the aroma of a number of “right” plants, such as garlic, sage, and, of course, marigolds. These plants can be planted along the edges of the beds with valuable vegetables, hoping that slugs will bypass them.
Manual collection of slugs
In addition to all of the above, you can always put your hands into the fight against slugs, simply collecting those you find. Remember, however, that they are cunning creatures, wielding at night, and hiding in secluded corners during the day. To find them there is a simple technique - water the soil and put pieces of slate, cardboard, plastic, iron and similar material on its surface. In the morning, pick them up, if there are slugs on your site, then almost their entire population will be concentrated in ideal shelters, in their opinion.
After detection, act with slugs as you see fit. At our site, we just carried them to the nearest landing, it was a pity to kill them.
Wall or barrier, from ordinary soil. It can be built around the perimeter of the plot, using the soil in a wet state, which after drying does not lose shape. At the same time, before the barrier, as well as after it, the soil can be generously sprinkled with spruce needles or, say, perlite, so that slugs could get over as difficult as possible.
Instead of a wall, you can make grooves, for example, two or three with a distance of a couple of centimeters, also 2-3 cm deep and of the same width, onto the bottom of which pour dry sand, finely packed shells from any nuts, wood ash and the like.
Young trees can be protected with simple river sand, it is enough to make something like a small roller that encloses each tree.
Oddly enough, but water can also help in the fight against slugs that love everything wet. To do this, you need to cut the old irrigation hose lengthwise, dig it lightly into the soil and fill it with water, you can add sodium chloride (a tablespoon per liter). Usually falling into such a groove with water and salt, slugs can no longer get out of it and die quickly.
Beer for the good
Gardeners and gardeners claim to help in the fight against slugs and ordinary beer. It is better to use what is in a plastic container, there are at least natural substances, and the smell comes out very strong and attractive to slugs.
First, the bottle must be deprived of the neck so that the width of the trap is large, then pour 100-150 g of beer and dig the bottle into the soil so that its edges are strictly at the level of the soil. This is a real trap, which in terms of efficiency is comparable only to the hunting belts on trees.
One such trap can collect up to 90% of all slugs from your site. For especially sluggish, you can advise the bottle not to be instilled and not cut, but to put it as close as possible with the neck to the soil, slugs will crawl there too, though the effectiveness of such a trap will be noticeably lower.
Other folk remedies against slugs
Hot pepper, or rather, its decoction. To prepare a decoction of hot pepper, it is necessary to thoroughly dry the pods of hot pepper, and then grind them, ideally in a coffee grinder. Then, in a liter of water, approximately 50 grams of the powder obtained in this way (which you can buy) should be dissolved, let this composition be infused for three days, then put on fire, bring to a boil and let stand for a couple more days after that.
Keep in mind that such a decoction is well stored, so it can be done once - and for the whole summer. It remains to strain the broth, fill the spray bottle and in calm weather, so that the broth does not get into the eyes, spray the plants thoroughly. In order not to harm the plants, it is advisable to carry out the treatment before flowering or after it. If outside the window is wet weather and there is no clearance in the clouds, and the slugs are pestered, then soaps can be added to the solution to create an adhesion effect. 20 g of laundry soap is enough per liter.
Superphosphate can be added to the row-spacing, its amount should not exceed 20 g per square meter or sprinkle slaked lime in the same amount.
Sometimes a mixture of lime and tobacco dust is used with success. The amount of both must be equal and be about 50 g per square meter. If there is no lime and tobacco dust, then in the same amount and in the same way you can use a mixture of ordinary wood ash and regular tobacco, and this mixture can be dusted not only row spacing, but also the plants themselves.
The real poison for bare slugs is iron sulfate. For greater effect, iron sulfate must be mixed with river or ordinary building sand and sprinkle this composition around the perimeter of the site. As soon as the slug crawls onto such a mixture, it will die in a few seconds.
A mixture of soot (from the furnace) and tar gives the same effect. These two “ingredients” can be used both in a mixture with each other and separately. For example, tar, which has a well-known “aroma”, scares off slugs, so sometimes it is enough to impregnate them with pieces of tissue and place these strips near or under plants.
Surprisingly, they struggle with slugs, using even a simple pharmacy green. A bubble is enough for ten liters of water, it is worth pouring it out, stir well and the plant treatment product will be prepared. The odor of ammonia also scares away pests, and it needs only five tablespoons per ten liters of water - this composition can also be sprayed with plants.
We pass to chemistry
We remind you that chemical preparations have a negative effect not only on slugs, but also on the soil, and on the plants around, on beneficial insects, to one degree or another, and you and I, therefore, you need to resort to their help in special cases when slugs there is so much on the site that it is impossible to cope with them with folk remedies.
The vast majority of preparations for the fight against naked slugs are based on the pesticide Metaldehyde. We strongly recommend that you use approved drugs, carefully study the hazard class, which must be indicated on the package with the drug, and if it is above three (2-1), you should definitely use protective gloves and a mask, treat the area in calm weather and strictly following the instructions on the package.
Of those drugs that are popular in the fight against slugs, one can name “Thunderstorm” and “Slug”, these are granules or powder, usually lilac. Slugs eat pellets or powder and die quickly.
These drugs, like most other drugs to combat slugs, negatively affect birds and pets, they may not kill them, but they will greatly affect their health, which must be taken into account.
Also, if you use chemistry, then subsequently do not eat vegetables and fruits directly from the garden or from a tree, you must first wash them, preferably in water, heated to 35 degrees.
In addition to the described preparations, a drug based on iron phosphate is also known, it is Ulicid (also in granules, but more often blue), its effect is similar, but it is safe for pets and birds.