Monday, July 25, 2011

Slimy Boozing Boogers

Slugs are the bane of many gardeners, especially those who grow tasty stuff like lettuce, beans and squash. There are, apparently, a million ways to combat the crawling booger menace:
·         Place pennies around the plant being attacked – the copper gives them a shock
·         Sprinkle assorted substances around the plants – wood ashes, diatomaceous earth, sawdust, lime, crushed egg shells, talcum powder, coffee grounds, Epsom salts, oat bran, builder’s sand, etc., etc.
·         Spray them with ammonia
·         Pick them off and drown them in soapy water
·         Use store-bought repellents, like Sluggo or Escar-Go
·         Place roof shingles or sandpaper on the ground around the affected plants – slugs won’t crawl across the rough surfaces
·         Grow “trap” crops to entice them to other areas of the garden
·         Lay old bits of carpet, lumber or wet newspaper around for them to crawl into, then destroy
·         Use herbs as repellents – horseradish roots, geranium leaves, rosemary, wormwood, tansy, comfrey

I found all of these and more in just 15 minutes of Googling. I can’t vouch for any of them as my garden is, thankfully, not badly affected by slugs. The only slugs of note were the leopard slugs when we first started the garden, but I haven’t seen any in a while. In my opinion, these solutions are much like the cures suggested for hiccups – more for the amusement of the victim’s friends than to actually cure the hiccups.

Leopard Slug

My favorite solution, though, has got to be this article in the Bangor Daily News. The author used beer to bait the things into a pan where they would drown. Gruesome and disgusting, but a time-proven remedy. The hilarious part was the discovery that slugs are beer snobs with no taste. After experimenting with several different kinds of beer, the author concluded that Budweiser is the beer of choice for Maine slugs.
Believe it or not, there is actual, scientific research backing up her conclusions. This study, conducted at Colorado State University, agrees that Budweiser is the favorite, but the slimy little boozers will also fortify themselves with Pabst Blue Ribbon and Coors. A commenter in the Maine article claims they will even imbibe Old Milwaukee. All this while ignoring a perfectly good pan of Rolling Rock! Slugs are clearly a lesser breed of drunk.


Casa Mariposa said...

My beer-swilling slugs prefer Miller Lite out of a screw top bottle, which makes refilling traps easy. As for the copper giving them a shock, when I wrapped my dahlias in copper taping all I succeeded in doing was making my plants look stupid. The slugs crwled right over it.

Sharie said...

Hi, Casa!

Yeah, I thought some of those remedies sounded goofy. The only ones that seemed reasonable were the ones involving drowning. Not sure I could bring myself to salt them - sounds horrible!