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Organic Pest Control

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A new gardener emailed asking about organic methods of slug control. He said he’d been seeing some success with the beer trap, but needed more.

I thought I’d bring the rest of the readers in and we can all chat about our pest control methods.

First, the Beer Trap he mentioned. This is a super simple setup. Take something like a yogurt or sour cream container and burying it so the lip is at ground level. Fill it with beer. The yeasty goodness attracts the slugs, and they drown in the tub.

I told him the only other one I knew of was diatomaceous earth. DE is a white powder made from the fossilized remains of diatoms, which are super sharp and rip into the slimy slugs when they try to slime over it. So to use it best, you can put a ring of it around your plants. You can also dust individual plants, just powder the leaves, if there’s a plant getting serious slug pressure.  USE PROTECTION when you handle this though, mask and gloves are not out of line.

Slug pressure is light here in NW Iowa, so I’m able to control things with hand picking. Gross, I know, but extremely effective and time efficient for my situation.

I’ve heard ducks will eat slugs, if you have enough to do that trick.

There is one solution I found online, Copper Strips. When a slug crosses a copper barrier, its moist, mucusy body reacts with the copper and it receives an electric shock. Copper barriers can be pushed into the soil to make a vertical fence around a plant or bed, or laid flat. Either way, use 2- to 3-inch strips.  That seems rather novel, and extremely long lasting. I wonder if you could DIY something with pennies? Somebody get on that stat, and report back.

Does anybody else have a slug repellent? Shout out in the comments!  We can discuss other pests too if someone has a specific problem.

- Calamity Jane

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