Eewww….slugs! I grew up in Montana but recently moved to Washington and was quite surprised by the size of the garden slugs out here. In Montana, a “big” slug was about an inch long and about as thick as a pencil. Here in Washington, though, the garden slugs are closer to 3 inches long or longer and as thick as a person’s finger.
Because I have a dog I did some research into non-toxic ways of getting rid of garden slugs and found a variety of different methods that not only work but are safe for pets. Here are a few of the ways to get rid of garden slugs:
Slugs are attracted to the yeast and barley in beer which makes it a great slug-bait. To use beer to catch slugs, dig a hole in the ground that is about 5 inches deep. Place a disposable cup into the hole and fill the cup most of the way with beer. Then just sit back and wait for the slugs to be drawn to the beer. Each day you should empty the slugs out of the cup and add more beer until you have gotten rid of your garden slugs. You can also use the beer method with a shallow dish like a pie pan or plate rather than digging a hole for a cup.
As long as you don’t plan to try to grow plants where you have slugs you can use salt to get rid of garden slugs. Just sprinkle the salt in the area where the slugs are crawling and they will dry up. Be sure to remember, though, that salt makes the soil bad for growing plants, so if you plan to plant in the future you should choose a different method of getting rid of your slugs.
To keep slugs off your plants or away from a particular area of your yard or garden, crush up eggshells and sprinkle them around the area. The slugs cut themselves on the eggshells so they will avoid areas where they have been sprinkled.
Probably the most earth-friendly way of getting rid of slugs is to put out lots of birdseed. The birdseed attracts birds who not only eat the seed but also eat the slugs. Not only are you getting rid of your slug problem, but you are bringing more birds into your yard.
Slugs love cornmeal. Just place a couple of tablespoons of it in a jar and lay it on its side wherever you don’t want slugs. The slugs will come and eat the cornmeal and after eating it they die.
If at all possible it is a good idea to avoid commercially available slug poisons since they are very toxic to animals. One of the saddest things I saw was shortly after we moved to Washington and had taken our dog to the vet for a checkup. There was a dog brought in while were waiting in the waiting room that was suffering from severe seizures caused by eating slug bait. It can and often does kill dogs.
With all the safe options for how to get rid of slugs, it should be easy to find an alternative that will work for you that will not harm other animals.
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