From the Desk of Ed Hume: Eliminating Fall Slugs

September 21, 2011 at 12:54 AM Leave a comment

Who’s thinking about slugs at this time of the year?  Maybe we should all be!  Actually, rather than thinking about them, let’s do something about the slugs before they reproduce and become a real nuisance in next year’s garden!

Did you know Fall is the season when slugs lay eggs?  Each slug egg is about the size of a b.b. and the adult lays the eggs in clusters.  I have never counted them, but those that have say there can be up to a hundred or more slug eggs in each cluster.  Apparently some hatch out now and others in the late Winter.

So what can we do to cut down on this potential slug infestation? First, lets try to find where the adult slugs have deposited their eggs.  Often you will find them right along the edge of the grass and your flower beds in a cool, moist, shady part of the yard.  Other places to look are shady, moist areas or spots where you have noticed or found slugs this past Spring and Summer.  For example, in my yard I find most of them on the North side of our home (shady), right along the edge of the lawn and flowerbed (which is moist, shady, and cool).  How can you get rid of them?  You can collect and destroy them, step on them (ugh!), or you can use liquid baits that destroy the egg’s protective covering.   If you use baits, be certain to read and follow application directions and apply according to the label instructions.

Now that’s part of the problem.  What about the adult and baby slugs that are still out eating and damaging the greens in your garden?  How do you get rid of them?  There are both natural and commercial slug baits you can use to help control them (Remember to apply according to label instructions).  You might want to ask your garden center clerk, Master Gardener, or Certified Professional Horticulturist for their recommendation and they can actually show you the product on-site.  There are several slug devices that attract and help control slugs, too! Plus, check my article on our web site or my latest gardening book Gardening with Ed Hume: Northwest Gardening Made Easy for additional slug control ideas.

The critical point is that slugs reproduce up to 250 offspring per year (give or take), so the more you can control this Fall should result in fewer slugs next year.


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