To many people slugs are unattractive and they can be a real pest to gardeners. However, even though people will opt to use slug pellets to get rid of them, it is not a safe way to deal with them as you also run the risk killing other wildlife and they can be extremely dangerous to pets too. Also, slugs are a source of food to birds and other creatures so eliminating them also means that you are depriving other wildlife of vital nutrients. Therefore, you should try to adopt a strategy of dealing with slugs naturally and here are a few ways you can do that.
'Think' Like the Slugs Do
To control the movement of slugs naturally, you need to get into the ‘mind’ of a slug and understand the ways they operate. Slugs need to produce a lot of mucus, or slime, to get about which is far easier on moist or wet ground. Therefore, make it difficult for them by creating a barrier between them and your plants using gravel, sand or ash and try to keep this area dry. By placing a pile of wet, wilting leaves close by, the slugs will not want to expend too much energy by trying to travel over dry, rough or dusty ground, they’ll take the easy option and head for the wet leaves.
Build a Pond
Ponds attract frogs and toads, in particular, who are a slug’s most feared predator. Along with slow-worms, ground beetles and birds, all of these creatures love to feed on slugs and will help to prevent them from ruining your garden. In building a pond, you will be creating a habitat to attract plenty of slug predators.
Attracting the Birds
Slugs like the seeds from melon and citrus rinds and will remain underneath these peelings overnight if you place some in your garden. So, in the morning, by turning the rinds over, it will expose the slugs underneath and make it easier for the birds to find them.
Creating a Barrier
Slugs and salty things don’t mix so place some seaweed around your plants, making sure that the seaweed doesn’t touch the plants you’re trying to protect. Seaweed would cause dehydration and ultimately death to a slug so they will not want to venture too near. Copper strips buried in the ground, pots with a copper rim and wrapping copper wire around the legs of benches upon which you are trying to grow plants can also be a great deterrent. When a slug’s slime comes into contact with copper, it causes a toxic reaction which creates an electric current and the shock from this, whilst not killing the slug, is enough to repel it.
There are a number of gardening solutions you can buy which, when mixed with water and sprinkled on the soil, produce thousands of microscopic worms which are parasitic and will enter the slug where they reproduce resulting in more nematodes. At the same time, they release bacteria which will force the slug to burrow further underground until it dies. They are not harmful to other wildlife either so if you choose to get rid of the slugs as opposed to restricting their movements, this is a good option to take. Nemaslug ® is one of the recommended products to ask your local garden centre about.