Slugs can become a nuisance around the home and garden. They will destroy plants, mess up the surfaces they crawl on with their slimy trails and ruin a relaxing evening on the porch by coming out to feed at dusk! This article will describe what these creatures do to be considered a pest and how to control a local infestation.
Slugs can be a huge problem around the garden. Slugs feed on succulent plants and will eat pansies as fast as you plant them.
Slugs feed on plants by crawling out onto the leaf and eating from the middle out. This type of damage is easy to identify as most leaf eating insects eat around the edges of the leaf first. Slug damage occurs in the evening as they are nocturnal and generally toward the middle of the leaf.
To know if slugs are responsible for damage to your plants, go out with a flashlight just after dark to catch them in the act. Of course their unsightly slime trails is a sure way to know you have slugs.
If they are feeding on your plants, you should be able to see these trails where they are moving. Slugs will hide during the day so don’t expect to catch them in the act when the sun is shining. Dark, shady areas are where you might find them if you are looking for nest sights when it’s bright. These include under rocks, decks, wood timbers such as railroad ties, mulch and where concrete meets grass.
LIFE CYCLE OF A SLUG
Slugs are prolific. They are unique in that they have both male and female sex organs. Known as a hermaphrodites, slugs can mate with themselves. This ability enables them to populate a good nesting area even if only one makes it there to start!
Since slugs seem to be drawn to moisture, watering gardens and yards can attract them. Crawl spaces are prone to having them as it provides dark and moist nest sights. Decks, poolside cabinets and any area around the home will provide ample housing during the light of day. At night, they will forage out into the yard for food. As slow as they tend to travel, it is not unusual for slugs to migrate 30-50 feet each night in search for food. The most common pattern of behavior they will follow is to first identify a food supply.
Next, they will situate themselves as close to the food as they can yet still be both protected from the elements as well as the light. Once they have found such locations, they will come out each evening as the sun goes down and migrate to the food for both meals and mating. One favorite location for slugs is around any type of cement block, garden lumber, fence or simple dividers which are placed in the yard to provide a barrier between a flower bed and grass.
HOW TO CONTROL A SLUG INFESTATION
In most parts of the United States, slugs have two breeding seasons – spring and fall. Expect to see big populations at these times. To control slugs, you have a few options.
First, the simplest way to control an active problem is to install SLUG TRAPS. These fit in well with any garden environment and are made to look discreet. Most importantly, they work.
To set up a trap, you’ll need to add the included Bait Pellet with 8 oz of warm water and a couple of drops of dish detergent. Once mixed up inside the trap, dig a small hole in the garden, flower bed, etc. with slug activity. This hole must be deep enough so the trap can be placed down low so the entrance holes located on the side of the holding tank are even with the ground.
The lure inside will attract slugs who then enter through one of the holes. Once inside, they cannot escape and will get caught in the slippery water below to drown. Place one trap for every 100 sq/ft which is a 10 foot by 10 foot area. Renew the Slug Bait inside as traps fill or every 60 days.
Replacement lures are sold 4 lures to a pack and will last 30-60 days per placement unless you need to clean the trap due to trapped slugs.
STRONGEST SLUG BAIT
The use of bait for slugs has long been one of the “easiest” ways to control an active population. And the strongest label still in production is the SLUG PELLET which has killed more slugs than all the other actives combined. It uses metaldehyde for the active which will effectively paralyze them leading to death within a day. Its safe enough to be used in flower beds, gardens and listed ornamentals.
ORGANIC SLUG BAIT
If you prefer to use a “non metaldehyde” based bait, go with SLUGGO. These pellets will be readily accepted but use iron sulfate for an active. Commonly used for fertilizer, this active will cause slugs to stop eating which leads to their death in a few days.
Spread 1/2 to 1 lb of pellets per 1,000 sq/ft and reapply every 30-60 days as needed.
FAST KILLING SLUG CONTROL DUST
If you’re looking for a direct way to treat slugs as you find them, get DELTAMETHRIN DUST. This can be applied with a HAND DUSTER and will provide the most direct way to kill unsightly slugs as they’re active in the evening. Delta dust can be applied on foundation, plants and basically anywhere slugs are found. Treatments will last 2-4 weeks and should be renewed as needed. All it takes is a single “puff” of dust and the treated slug will crawl off and die overnight.
Typically the best way to treat is to go out in the evening after dark with a flashlight. Treating slugs as you find them is an effective way to diminish their numbers quickly. Slugs are slow moving and easy targets once they come out. If you go out with dust in hand and give them a good dose, you can many times take care of large numbers in a single night which will keep the area slug free for weeks.
1 lb of dust will cover 2,000 sq/ft so a little goes a long way.
For most small treatments, our standard HAND DUSTER will do the job.
For garden areas littered with slugs, dust all surfaces using a DUSTIN MIZER. This is great tool for treating under decks or in crawl spaces too.
To use the Dustin Mizer, pour the dust into the hopper which can hold 1/2 lb of dust well. Always start with 1/2 lb first to ensure you don’t over apply it to the site. Remember, 1/2 lb will cover 500-1000 sq/ft. The Dustin Mizer needs to be hand “cranked” to power the dust out. The faster you crank it, the further the dust will go. In general, you should be able to get it to shoot 15-20 feet no problem.
If you have deer actively eating plants, PEST AWAY SPRAY is a proven deterrent when applied to targeted plants and surfaces. It’s concentrated, completely organic and when mixed with water, treated plants will make them all “bad” tasting as well as “alarming” so foraging pests will avoid the areas where its applied.
Pest Away is made with all natural organic essential oils and gets mixed with water. It won’t harm wildlife, insects, birds, pets, etc. but due to it being so concentrated, it makes pests “wary” of treated areas.
The feeling of being uneasy and alarmed about the area/treated plants will make them not want to rest where its been applied. This makes Pest Away a great way to naturally chase away unwanted pesky animals and insects.
Our 8 oz jar mixes 2 oz per gallon of water and will treat up to 500 sq/ft of plants when treating for deer control.
To apply the Pest Rid, you’ll need a good PUMP SPRAYER.
Give us a call if you need further help. Our toll free is 1-800-877-7290 and we’re open Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. On Saturday, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time).
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