More issues with slugs and snails are on the rise after significant rainfall in parts of the country this spring.
A slug is a snail without a shell, and they both favor a habitat that is wet and cool. They also love to hang out in shade gardens and sot as much in sunny areas.
Coastal areas of the Pacific and Atlantic are known to be prime regions for slugs and snails.
The mollusks may be found from early spring to late fall and will feed on a wide variety of plant material, the K-State Research and Extension reports. There are a number of species of slugs that vary from 1/4 inch to 7 inches long.
"In the big picture of life, they are decomposers," said Dennis Patton, a horticulture agent with the Extension office. "Unfortunately with higher populations, they can feed on our desirable plants."
Most feeding is done at night when cool, and the damage appears as chewed-off stems or holes in the foliage.
Populations can be monitored by placing a small board or bricks in the area. You could even add a slice of potato or lettuce as a food source, Patton suggests.
"During the heat of the day, lift the board, and they will be hiding out," he said.
There are a number of strategies that can be used for control.
Handpicking is most effective if done after dark with a flashlight. Placing slugs in a jar with soapy water will kill them, the Extension reports.
If you have any beer sitting in your fridge that you can dispose of for the betterment of your garden, this might do the trick. Placing small saucers of beer around the garden at soil level will attract slugs by the aroma. A sip here and there, and they will fall and drown. You can also use a mixture of sugar, yeast and water.
"The slimy coating is erased, and they can not crawl out," Patton said.
You can also use salt to draw water out of the slug, but you have to apply it directly which could be a challenge chasing them around with a salt shaker.
More entertaining methods to help lead to their demise include stomping on them, placing them on concrete and running them over with a vehicle or bicycle, the Extension said.
There are also commercial baits on the market. The most common is a product containing iron phosphate.
Diatomaceous earth (decomposed shells) can be also spread around plants as this product has sharp, cutting edges which kill the tender outer layer.
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