Let the Slug Fest Begin!

drawing of a slugOur own Megan Jones (class of 1990) reminds us: “Now is a great time to deal with slugs. The more you get now the less you will have later!”

So let’s get a head start on the little beasties — before they get a head start on us.

Here’s a quick overview from Hortsense:
Slugs damage a number of ornamental and garden plants. Older leaves may be raggedly chewed, while young tender plants may be partially or completely consumed. Slug damage, unless you catch slugs in the act, may be misdiagnosed as that of cutworms or other chewing insects. Accurate diagnosis can be enhanced by checking the plant at night or by checking for the characteristic slime trails and pretzel-shaped fecal droppings slugs leave as they feed.

Management Options
Select Non-chemical Management Options as Your First Choice!!

  • Clean up weeds and debris which may provide shelter.  Cut tall weeds and grasses around the garden and clean up rocks, boards, and other shelters.
  • Encourage predators such as birds, garter snakes, frogs, ducks, and predacious ground beetles. Avoid use of broad-spectrum insecticides which kill beneficial insects.
  • Hand-pick and kill slugs when noticed.

worried slug

  • Trap slugs with cans of stale beer sunk into the ground.
  • Use chemical baits with caution, as pets can be poisoned.  Slug bait may be useful in certain situations.  Make certain that the product that you purchase is labeled for the target host or site.  (For more information on chemical baits, visit Hortsense for a fact sheet for slugs on specific hosts.)

More on slug control from the WSU Extension Library here.


2 thoughts on “Let the Slug Fest Begin!

  1. I have a healthy population of garter snakes in my garden, and virtually no slug problem. We encourage the little snake people, I admit to naming some of them (Big Snake, Little Snake, Shy Snake….) my husband Teddy actually created what he calls a Snake Condo to encourage them to hibernate near the vegetable garden. He put down a tarp near some bushes and covered it with a couple of pallets we had laying around. I’ll let you know if anyone spent the winter there, it’s still too early and cold for them to emerge!

    • Ooo, a snake condo is a great idea! Let us know how it works out.

      I let my garden get really overgrown (except for the planting areas) and I usually end up with a good population of small snakes and birds that like to hang out in the tall grass. I have some slugs every year, but not nearly as bad as other gardeners’.


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