PEST CONTROL FOR SLUGS
Slugs are a garden lover’s worst nightmare. They are in almost every garden and landscapes not only in Greensboro but in all places in the United States as well, doing severe damage to plants. Slugs thrive in moist climates, and your garden would likely have more slugs during the rainy season.
Slugs are close relatives of snails but are far more destructive. They attract more slugs by leaving their trail. They eat seedlings. They eat bulbs while they are still on the soil. Slugs can also transmit salmonella, which can be deadly to humans.
Slugs can be a nuisance to residents of Greensboro. Not to worry though, as the best Greensboro pest exterminator, Go-Forth Pest Control, have a few tricks they would want to share with you on how to control slugs in your garden.
First, let us talk about slugs.
What are slugs?
Slugs are not insects; they are members of the mollusk phylum, along with snails. They are similar in structure, except for the slugs’ lack of external shell. Slugs come in gray to dark brown in color, or at least most of them are. Their color makes them hard to spot. They are about one inch long. They do not have legs, moving only by gliding using their so-called muscular “foot”. To facilitate their movements, they secrete mucus constantly which comes from their muscles. This mucus dries later and forms a trail of silvery slime, which alerts us of their presence. These trails are usually the only clues we will have of their presence.
Slugs are hermaphrodites, which means after two slugs mate, either slug can lay eggs. Slugs become mature after 3 to 6 months. They lay eggs in 3 up to 40 batches under leaves, cracks in the soil, and other areas they can hide their eggs. Slug eggs are translucent and are either oval or round in shape. Slugs are nocturnal creatures, so they can be seen mostly at night. They lay their eggs in moist soil. During the daytime, they are in hiding, usually away from the sun and bright lights.
Slugs hibernate during the cold season, but they can be active all throughout the year in areas where there are mild winters. They also hibernate during hot weather by sealing themselves off with a membrane. They attach themselves to walls, fences, and tree trunks.
How do they get into our gardens?
Slugs somehow will always be part of any garden. Even the most experienced and knowledgeable gardener would not be able to totally get away from them. No matter how hard you work the whole day to keep your garden free of slugs. They simply wash into your garden during heavy rains; even their eggs can find its way to your plot by getting in a pot of soil.
They can also come through compost. Slugs love compost. Spreading compost on your garden before it has generated heat will introduce more slugs.
Water is essential for slugs to survive. Without it, they will die in a matter of hours. If your garden is moist, slugs will surely get there.
Slugs are also easily attracted by the presence of other slugs. They mate normally by the end of autumn. That is why if there are slugs in your garden by the end of the season, it would likely get worse come next spring.
Healthy soil is good for humans and plants. Healthy soil is also good for slugs. Soils are healthy because of the beneficial bacteria and fungi that are present in it. These probiotics, unfortunately, also helps slugs whatever they eat. If your soil is healthy, then watch out for slugs.
Slugs as pests
Slugs love to eat plants and decaying plant matter. Their diet is diverse, and they eat many types of plants. They leave smooth edges and irregular holes on the leaves of plants by scraping them with their tongues.
If given a choice, slugs prefer small, succulent plants. They can be easily clipped by feeding slugs. And since slugs prefer them, they are primary pests of herbaceous plants and seedlings. Ripening fruits and turfgrass seedlings that are close to the ground are also on the menu. Strawberries and tomatoes come to mind in this. Citrus are also vulnerable since slugs like to eat young fruits of trees and young plant bark.
There are many ways to control slugs. If you love gardens, here are some tips that you can follow to protect your plants’ lives and yourself from headaches.
- Check for slugs on your plants and handpick if you see them. This is effective only when the number of slugs has declined.
- Slugs love the water because they need it to survive. Without it, slugs will die in a few hours. Cut them off water sources to make your garden less attractive. Try switching to drip irrigation rather than using sprinkler irrigation to reduce the moisture and humidity on the surfaces. The best time to irrigate would be before sunrise to give time for the foliage and the ground to dry.
- Put vegetable gardens or succulent plants away from the slugs’ hiding areas like the undersides of wooden decks, low ledges on the fences, and water meter boxes. Try to remove as many of their hiding places as possible, though it may not be possible to remove all of them completely. Reducing hiding places would make it hard for these slugs to survive.
- To kill eggs, try using a clear plastic tarp to cover the ground plus the sun’s heat for 4 to 6 weeks during a hot period of the year. This will heat the soil and make it lethal for the eggs.
- You can use barriers, and there are several types of barriers you can use to prevent slugs from attacking. Try using copper barriers because the copper reacts to the slime coming from the slugs. This causes something that is similar to an electric shock, thus making copper a very effective deterrent. Use copper foil or tape and wrap it around planting boxes, trunks, or headers until the copper gets tarnished. If this happens, you may clean it with a vinegar solution.
- You can use diatomaceous earth to kill the slugs. Diatomaceous earth is made from fossilized remains of diatoms. They look like tiny shards of broken glass which can be deadly to slugs. Once these slugs crawl on it, it can cause tiny cuts in their bodies, causing them to bleed to death. Heap it in a band that is 1 inch high and 3 inches wide around the garden. However, it can only be effective when it is dry. Moisture will take away its effectiveness. You can purchase diatomaceous earth from garden stores near you.
- Use their natural enemies. Slugs have many predators, like rats, ground beetles, wild birds, frogs, toads, snakes, and turtles. The problem with this though is that whole you get to control one pest, you just simply replace it with a new one.
- Place pieces of cardboard on the soil near the plants. Then every morning turn the cardboard over and you will find slugs on it. Scrape them off into a container and put it inside a freezer. Once the slugs are frozen, dump them on your compost pile.
- Slugs cannot stand beer and they die once they get a sip of it. Create a “beer garden” by placing a shallow dish with some beer around your garden. Beer is very good slug bait. If you feel that doing so is a waste of good beer, then you can mix water, molasses, flour, cornmeal, and baking yeast and it will have the same effect.
- Small slugs can be controlled with a spray of cold coffee. Be sure you completely drench them for it to be effective.
- Water the garden only when it is necessary to minimize damp places that slugs come to love.
- Another strategy you can use is “companion planting”. This involves putting another plant that slugs love but are less valuable. This will protect your most valuable plants. You can use thyme, marigold, or chervil as bait. Once the slugs infest them, you can simply destroy the plants.
It can be tiring to fight off these slugs because they always seem to be around all the time. If you have these unwanted pests in your garden, be sure to contact the Triad pest control for flying insects and more, the Go-Forth Pest Control.
Why Go-Forth Pest Control?
Go-Forth Pest Control is a family-owned commercial service solutions provider of modern pest control services and techniques, using the latest and most advanced technology in the business, making our service to you more efficient, safer and more convenient. We have a team of expert professionals who can provide the best pest control services to residents and business establishments not only in Greensboro but in all of North and South Carolina.
Why wait? If you have pest problems, act now! Call us to request a free quote!