It wasn’t until I lived outside of the Pacific Northwest for a time that I realized how common slugs are in Washington and Oregon. Banana Slugs, Gray Garden Slugs and European Slugs are all commonly seen in the Pacific Northwest. These nocturnal pests can wreak havoc on gardens and result in a slimy, sticky surprise if you accidentally step on them!
There can be many reasons slugs are attracted to your property. The main things that will attract slugs are moist environments and food. Slugs are not picky eaters! They eat dead and decaying plants in addition to live plants. Fungi and seedling plants are also favorites of slugs. They are particularly attracted to leafy garden vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage, spinach and kale. Logs and large stone work can also attract slugs as they provide a covered, yet still moist environment for their home.
Keep up on garden maintenance. Rake fall leaves, weed regularly and remove dead or decaying plants. Compost piles are particularly enticing to slugs, either searching for slugs and removing them (use gloves and wash hands after!) regularly from your compost pile or setting up slug traps can help minimize these slimy critters. Remove wood or large stones that act as shelter for slugs.
There are many different methods you can try to eliminate slugs from your garden. Here are three you can try!
1. Create Slug Traps: slugs are attracted to beer or a home-made concoction of water molasses, yeast and cornmeal. Empty a disposable plastic water bottle, cut a hole in the middle, just under the brand wrapper. Make sure that the hole is wide enough to allow the slugs you’ve been seeing to enter the trap. Poor in liquid until it is a little over halfway between the bottom of the water bottle and the hole you cut. Place the trap near your garden in a hole big enough to place the water bottle. Make sure that the bottom of the opening you created in the water bottle is level with the ground, granting slugs easy access to the liquid that will trap and eliminate them. Check your trap in the morning, dispose of slugs and liquid in a plastic bag and reset the trap.
2. Create a copper barrier: purchase copper tape and set up a perimeter around your garden. Copper tape will shock the slugs trying to invade your garden, encouraging them to go somewhere else.
3. Use repelling plants: As stated above, slugs are attracted to large leafy and stem vegetables like lettuce, cauliflower and spinach. There are certain plants that they avoid though. These plants include rosemary, mint, astilbe, garlic and chives as well as many others. You could either plant these repelling plants next to plants that slugs are attracted to, create a perimeter around your garden or do both!
Here at Insight we want to make sure that all your pest needs are addressed! We have great technicians that would be happy to help you manage your slug issues. Maybe slugs aren’t bothering you but you’re wondering why you can’t get rid of wasps during the summer! Make sure to check out our Why Wasps Keep Coming Back post for more information.