The Abhorrent Slug Returns

Last fall, I discovered several of my young Hostas had Small holes in the leaves. It quickly became apparent it was due to slugs when the characteristic slime trails led to my darling Hostas. I knew then my battle with the slug was only beginning. I hate it when I am right about these things.

From experience, I know slugs don’t travel far in their lifetime. We have lived in our current location for ten years and I’ve noticed slugs around our little town, but not in our yard. They are fairly common pests. This is the first year they have visited our yard. It was inevitable the slimy little fiends would find our yard and sample the tasty little treats I so lovingly planted. I accepted my fate and went to battle this year.

Knowing they eat just about every green plant out there is not comforting. I did discover they don’t really care for herbs; probably the strong smell and taste. However, a gardener can’t live on herbs alone. This year my petunias and marigolds were reduced to leafless stems. Only plants in pots and those with thick, hardened leaves seemed to survive the slug onslaught.

The Internet is full of some of the most interesting ways to rid your yard of slugs. From leaving shallow pans of beer and milk with the purpose of drowning the beasties to leaving cornmeal which once ingested will swell and explode their tiny bellies; the Internet has it all. Years ago I collected them and promptly put them in a bucket with salt. Not the nicest way to exit this life so I decided they must have a quick death. My method of choice this year has been to squish them. Not a task I prefer, but it is quick. I really don’t want them to suffer from poison or methods, such as salt. You can try crushed egg shells or diatomaceous earth which they say slugs hate to cross as both elements are sharp. However, I have tried both and slugs truly don’t care nor seem deterred by them. Leaving out slug poison is not an option for me as I have cats and I worry they may ingest the poison. My method has reduced their population, but I am aware each slug can mate and lay up to 30 eggs. ( they each have male and female genitalia). I have killed at least 100 slugs so far and many of them have most likely laid eggs. So I await the next generation. The evening is a good time to find slugs as it is cooler and slugs are nocturnal.

As a means of prevention, I would suggest if you can find ways to clean up debris, rocks, or sticks in moist areas of your garden, it will help reduce their population. They really love moist areas in gardens. As well, slugs like to hide in dark areas during the day. Turn the earth frequently in theses areas as it may help destroy eggs or slugs who slumber away their days under clumps of soil.

If you do end up with an infestation, don’t panic. The key is diligent, daily control. Whatever method you choose, just do it regularly. Please share any methods you have tried and found success with.



In my post on Hostas, I mentioned hostas could be bothered by slugs and I would write a post later on how I have battled slugs. I think I also mentioned I had never had problems with slugs eating my hostas. No sooner had I wrote that and I discovered slimy little trails in my hosta bed, which quickly explained why one of my younger hostas looked like swiss cheese. So I went out early one morning and voila! Slugs.

These are not creatures I love. While they do have a purpose, eating my hostas is not one of them. I take it as a personal offence when they sneak out at night, eat my plants and then find hiding spots. A little sneaky for me.

Years ago, I planted my very first vegetable garden in Fox Creek, Alberta. I was warned not to plant peas as they would only be eaten by slugs. I refused to believe such a small pest could wreak havoc in my garden. Wrong! They were everywhere and I quickly consulted my mom who recommended diatomaceous earth. I purchased some and spread it around the perimeter of the garden. I believe this helped to keep more slugs from coming in, but it didn’t control those already happily filling their bellies with my peas. A book I read suggested beer and this had some effect, but not enough. So my mom suggested I try salt. Well, I got up early every morning for 2 weeks to search under boards I had laid out on purpose the night before. I used tweezers to pick the slugs and put them in a bucket of salt. Not a nice death for them, but I was desperate. This worked! As I read further about them, I found slugs don’t really move far during their lifetime. So by reducing the population, they didn’t reproduce and the diatomaceous earth kept those wanting to stray into my garden at bay.

I disposed of the slugs I could find in my garden this fall and will now await spring when they will undoubtedly be in abundance. Once again I will battle the persistent slug and will most likely have plenty to update you with! Please share any ideas or practices you have to battle the slimy slug!