Monday, July 08, 2013

Common Garden Pests - Slugs Deroceras reticulatum

One of my fondest memories, is my aunt and I waking up early in the morning to pick slimy, sticky slugs (called Schnecken in German). We'd have a bucket full by the time breakfast was ready, only to sit and laugh with a cup of coffee on the patio. Mind you, the slugs in Germany are HUGE compared to here in Ontario. It was the most effective method, since their large size made most other controls useless. They made considerable damage to my Aunts veggie garden and her prized Dahlias. It was well worth the effort to pick that early.

The Ontario Slug: Deroceras reticulatum - causing me grief. Unlike the German Schnecken, these guys are much smaller. Scrunched up, they are as tiny as 1cm long.

Small slug - half an inch or so long.
Unfortunately the slugs in my garden stay away from my view, as I only end up seeing their devastation when it's too late. Plus, I have an early start to work, and can't putz around in my garden that early to comb over the plants. However, this morning, instead of running to the coffee machine, I went outside to make sure it was in fact them eating away. It was time to find my slimy enemies.

I have many hostas, lettuce, lamium, kale, swiss chard.... and I am tired of seeing their foliage turn out like swiss cheese.
Having a blissful morning munch.

Apparently yesterdays meal. (Rudbeckia)

Munch, munch, munch... (Lamium)

Even damage on some of the tougher leaves in the garden. (Ligularia)

In the past, I've managed to "kill a few with the good old brew". Yes, beer. I used to dig out small areas of soil to place a shallow sour cream container filled with beer over night to see in the morning a few had died in the blissful brew. Not worth the wasted beer. I've also used newspaper sheets, rolled up, soaked in beer. Ya, a bunch of slugs, pill bugs and earwigs were tucked in there, but my garden would need the entire Saturday Star and the weekend flyers to do the job. Rolled up paper, wet from water does the same trick too.

Because my small backyard is fenced off between my neighbours, no matter what I've tried thus far...they come back. I prefer harmless solutions. So here are other options I've used before:
  • eggshells 
  • diatomaceous earth 
  • hair 
  • coarse compost (leafy and mulch materials)
  • coffee grounds 
  • lemon and orange rinds  
  • sand
Yet, I'm afraid this wet summer has produced persistent moist conditions. Perfect conditions for the slug. They are multiplying quickly and the above methods aren't working. This has been the worst year, so I've caved in and bought myself some "friendly" Slug B Gone.
Scotts EcoSense: Slug B Gone. Non toxic to pets, birds etc...
Small pellets. Spread per directions on the bag, just before expected rain.
I still have three full months to enjoy my perennials before the frost comes. I'd like to see less damaged foliage. Should of done this weeks ago. I'll report on the results soon.


  1. I'm in Ottawa and it's the same here. Full of slugs. What has been more useful to me is to go out at night with a lantern. Every night I catch a lot of them.
    Good luck.

    1. I can recommend that you have a look at they sell a environmental friendly and disposable trap for killer slugs.


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