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How to Deter and Control Slugs in Your Garden

slug on the ground

Nothing compares to enjoying time in your backyard garden — until you notice the familiar squish of a slug under your feet. Slugs are mollusks that do not have a shell, are brown or grey in color, and love to feed on several types of plants, fruits, and vegetables. In addition to creating unsightly holes in leaves, slugs can actually kill your plants by feeding on them.

Here are a few tips to help keep slugs out of your garden and how to get rid of a slug invasion.

Clean Your Garden

Slugs prefer areas that are damp and provide plenty of hiding spots. Remove any leaves, damp mulch, branches, or garbage throughout the year. Avoid using large chunks of wood or any other types that retain mulch. Instead, use stones or rubber mulch to create an attractive garden and prevent weeds from growing without attracting slugs.

Watch for slug trails, which will appear silvery on the ground or stones, and for slug eggs. The eggs are laid in bunches, are translucent, and are covered with a slimy substance. Wipe away the slug trails with a damp rag and pick up the slug eggs and toss them out. Slugs follow trails, and if the trails are gone, the slugs might become confused.

Water Your Garden Only When Necessary

Slugs are slimy, don’t have a shell, and need moisture to survive. Your damp, well-watered garden is an ideal spot to find moisture and a perfect food source. Water your garden when necessary and only enough to keep your plants alive to keep the soil from becoming oversaturated and attracting slugs.

Avoiding watering your garden first thing in the morning or when it is still dark. Instead, water your garden in the mid-afternoon or when it is warm. The plants will get the water they need it and excess water will evaporate more quickly under the warm sun.

Create Slug Traps and Barriers

Unfortunately, if your soil holds moisture or there is a lot of rain, you can’t keep your garden dry and slugs will gravitate towards it. Creating a barrier around your garden with diatomaceous earth is one option to keep them away from your plants and vegetables. Diatomaceous earth is made from diatoms, which are fragments of fossilized algae.

The pieces of fossilized algae are small, but when the slug tries to get across them, they will feel sharp and painful. In addition to deterring slugs, the diatomaceous earth will act as a desiccant by drawing moisture out of the slug.

Slug traps are available at your local hardware or home improvement store. Ask a professional about how to create your own slug traps. For example, you can fill a shallow basin, such as the top of a spaghetti jar, with a small amount of beer. The beer’s smell attracts the slugs and they become trapped inside the shallow jar lid.

Check your traps in the morning and throw away any slugs you find.

Call a Professional for Help

Finally, if you cannot seem to keep slugs out of your garden on your own or there are many slugs wreaking havoc on your property, it is time to call in the professionals for assistance. A professional pest control agent can use several pesticides or other techniques to help keep the slugs out of your garden and eliminate any slugs that are feasting on your prized vegetables and flowers.

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