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Alternative ways of controlling those slimy beasts

  • Slugs are attracted to beer and so if you make pitfall traps, i.e. a small open container such as a jam jar or plastic cup, half filled with beer then the slugs will seek out the beer, fall in and drown. This can however attract and kill other, more beneficial ground dwelling invertebrates.
  • Seaweed is a slug deterrent due to its salt content. Use plenty of dried seaweed around the base of your plants, being careful for it not to touch the plant stems. The sharp texture will also make it difficult for slugs to move over.
  • If you scatter squeezed halves of oranges or grapefruits around your garden, these will attract the slugs and so collecting them just after dark is much quicker.
  • Slugs thrive in damp conditions so change your watering schedule from the evening to the morning, that way the top layer of the soil will be dry when the slugs are most active therefore reducing their efficiency.
  • Dig a wildlife pond to encourage amphibians into your garden. These will add to the ranks of slug and snail consuming creatures in your garden.
  • Plant garlic next to your most vulnerable crop as this is a repellent. If you don’t have the space, or the inclination, then make a garlic spray (you will need to apply to plants regularly, especially after rain):

– Boil 2 bulbs of garlic crushed in 2 pints water for 5 mins.
– Strain mixture and add more water to make back up to 2 pints.
– Let mixture cool before pouring into a bottle.
– Use 1 tablespoon of garlic mix to 1 gallon of water as needed.

  • Other plants thought to repel slugs are rosemary, fennel and rue.

Following the ban of metaldehyde slug pellets, new alternatives containing ferric phosphate are not thought to be harmful to hedgehogs.