All Posts   Posted:   August 25, 2017 by Nicole Forbes - education

Although it has been a very hot and dry summer, slugs and snails are lurking in your garden waiting for young seedlings and tender new growth to feast on. Many slugs/snails eat flowers, leaves, stems, roots and seeds and can even do damage below-ground; in fact, during summer months, only about five percent of slugs will be above ground (the rest are deep in the soil to stay cool and moist). Some types consume several times their own body weight each day and can cause leaf damage usually seen as shredding or severe notching, however due to mostly feeding at night, they are seldom seen during the day.

Pro-active control is beneficial since population numbers can increase rapidly. Because slugs are hermaphrodites, every individual can lay eggs (up to 300-500 per slug per year) and due to their annual life cycle can lay eggs whenever conditions are suitable. Slugs can survive cold temperatures or drought by tunneling deep into the soil and often, eggs laid in October or November will overwinter and hatch the following January.

The best methods of control are hunting, trapping and baiting (or a combination approach) and most effective if done in the months of March, April, May, June & late September/early October but may need to be done year-round in well-irrigated areas. Hunting is done by flashlight or headlamp at night and slugs are removed by hand (or tongs) and dropped into a container for disposal – very effective but not for the faint of heart! Trapping can be as simple as passively leaving a flat board on the ground in an area of your garden where slugs can go for shade and shelter; occasionally lift the board and dispose of the slugs you find underneath; a shallow container of beer left in the garden will also be a death trap for them but needs to be freshened regularly (a friend of mine must average 30+ slug bodies each morning with this method). Baiting is done by using a variety of commercial products to attract and kill slugs/snails once ingested; many types of bait can be toxic to pets & wildlife and need to be used with caution. We love a pet & people-safe product called Sluggo! Sluggo’s active ingredient is Iron phosphate which is a naturally occurring element in the soil; it is highly effective and pelletized to be rain-proof for about 3 weeks.

In less than a month, fall rains will arrive and so will a wave of slugs and snails ready to dine on tender greens and succulent foliage. Be ready with supplies, have a plan and stay vigilant! You garden is relying on you.

Although it has been a very hot and dry summer, slugs and snails are lurking in your garden waiting for young seedlings and tender new growth to feast on. Many slugs/snails eat flowers, leaves, stems, roots and seeds and can even do damage below-ground; in fact, during summer months, only about five percent of slugs will be above ground (the rest are deep in the soil to stay cool and moist). Some types consume several times their own body weight each day and can cause leaf damage usually seen as shredding or severe notching, however due to mostly feeding at night, they are seldom seen during the day.

Pro-active control is beneficial since population numbers can increase rapidly. Because slugs are hermaphrodites, every individual can lay eggs (up to 300-500 per slug per year) and due to their annual life cycle can lay eggs whenever conditions are suitable. Slugs can survive cold temperatures or drought by tunneling deep into the soil and often, eggs laid in October or November will overwinter and hatch the following January.

The best methods of control are hunting, trapping and baiting (or a combination approach) and most effective if done in the months of March, April, May, June & late September/early October but may need to be done year-round in well-irrigated areas. Hunting is done by flashlight or headlamp at night and slugs are removed by hand (or tongs) and dropped into a container for disposal – very effective but not for the faint of heart! Trapping can be as simple as passively leaving a flat board on the ground in an area of your garden where slugs can go for shade and shelter; occasionally lift the board and dispose of the slugs you find underneath; a shallow container of beer left in the garden will also be a death trap for them but needs to be freshened regularly (a friend of mine must average 30+ slug bodies each morning with this method). Baiting is done by using a variety of commercial products to attract and kill slugs/snails once ingested; many types of bait can be toxic to pets & wildlife and need to be used with caution. We love a pet & people-safe product called Sluggo! Sluggo’s active ingredient is Iron phosphate which is a naturally occurring element in the soil; it is highly effective and pelletized to be rain-proof for about 3 weeks.

In less than a month, fall rains will arrive and so will a wave of slugs and snails ready to dine on tender greens and succulent foliage. Be ready with supplies, have a plan and stay vigilant! You garden is relying on you.