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Hi My solution is very simple and has proved to be effective. At between 2300 - 2330 every evening (especially if it has been a warm/wet day and the tempreature stays warm) I go out into the garden with a torch. The more powerful the better.
You will see slugs and slug trails which will enevitably lead you to the offender/s. Pick them up and and pop them into a container filled with heavily salted water. This will kill the slugs. Snails on the other hand need to be crushed. Don't know why but they seem to be able to survive for over two hours in salt water and in that time the slime their way up the side of the container and escape.
The following morning tip away the salt water and if you put the slugs in an area accessible then sometimes the birds/hedghogs will eat them. Good luck and good hunting.
The trouble with being reverent towards all life is that you have to draw the line somewhere - rats? germs? household mice? I kill slugs by chopping them in half with garden scissors and putting the halves out for the birds. After years of seeing no birds in the garden, I've begun to see small tits and yesterday, even a robin. I've been trying to create a habitat for them - thick shrubs, well-turned soil where it is easy to catch worms, a feeder and the aforementioned slugs. Actually, I think it could be kinder than being eaten by a bird and dying slowly in its gut. Unfortunately, as Barneyb points out, snails have to be crushed. I've tried turning them on their backs and leaving the rest to the birds, but - apart from the cruelty of that - they are talented at turning over again. So I conclude that a quick death beats a slow one.
This is my first post on the forum, hello everyone!!
Don't worry Slug Haters - you're not alone!! There's nothing wrong in killing them, and I confess that I find a lot of pleasure in dropping them into a bucket of salty water and watching them squirm to death. My partner and my daughter think I am evil but my son is already a keen participant in the nightly "Slug Hunt", to the point where he doesn't even wear gloves I am afraid it is war and I will do anything to protect my beloved plants from these pointless parasites. Sadly for me I seem to grow a lot of things the molluscs love to chomp. In the past I have seen a coreopsis never even get going as the slugs ate the young leaves as soon as they appeared, I've devised barriers made of yoghurt pots with the top edges cut into spikes, I've saved all my eggshells and put rings of crushed shells around plants (not as effective as I'd hoped, that one) and tried beer traps (again, not that successful).
I refuse to give up, however, and I do find the slug hunt very effective in keeping the numbers down. I am intruiged by the garlic spray and will definitely try that. At the moment I have an echinacea and an achillea that can't get going because the slugs keep eating the young leaves, so it's time for more drastic action. I prefer crushing snails and leaving them on the path for the birds (I love birds) but it's always the salt water for the slugs.
Don't give up on the dahlias, copper tape around pots seems to work, and they're too beautiful not to grow.
I sympathise with the SS problem in gardens and allotments although we must remember they are not really pointless so much as being made redundant. their previous job was to be a valuable source of food for many birds, mammals and other small creatures and even us humans in times of famine!
In today's world, we mostly feed the birds and small garden creatures ourselves, and convince ourselves the snail is actually a delicacy and the lack of woodlands, verges, pastures and hedgerows only adds to their population numbers as their predators decrease in numbers.
As for control methods. I confess to using pellets early in the year or at random times of invasion. Piles of grit are heaped over the tastiest plants and I use the GG technique of guillotining to avoid prolonged suffering.
P.S. I've used the garlic spray on my hostas but the liquid just runs off the waxy leaves and doesn't stick!
I know this is not politically acceptable but I have to say that there is a brand of pellets that I've used recently that really does seem to blitz the little ***** better than any others. If you don't object to using poisons, try Eraza (I think that is how they spell it). I'm not proud of using it but I couldn't stand the destruction any longer!
I'm a bit terrified of posting this because I know I'll get lots of criticism from most people for using pellets at all....but it sounds like you are desperate and you might find this helpful...
PS and I really really agree with the person who said put the stuff down early - almost before the plants look tasty!
The modern slug/snail is crafty and canny than u think. i think they have come to realise the blue stuff is poison, so they have found a way of climbing on other plants without the pellet protection and catapulting or jumping unto the tasty stuff to munch away. Folks, its time for war, the critters are evolving, so i am afraid, its a matter of being vigilant and picking them off.
Well well well! hello all. I had a baptism of fire with slugs last year! I was shocked at how fast they can move and how much they can eat in one sitting! I had three corgette plants in a growbag on the ground WRONG!... They clean bit major holes in all the corgetees!... its was so funny then it got fustrating.... I couldnt believe that these fat slimy things could eat so! ( I have the fat black variety with the ridges on their backs) . I found myself on slug patrol most evening at dusk with torch, scissors and a jam jar with LID! ..... all good fun I must say.... ;0) Lesson properly Learned. Now I have a old divan bed frame and a planter on top of that...... and copper around the legs.... If they eat this year.... Ill eat my hat!! ;0)