Control Garden Slugs Organically

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JUDITH ANN GRIFFITH

If slugs are a problem in your garden, consider using organic pest
control methods to dispose of them.

Remove their habitat by raking up your mulch in spring and
composting it. Then, start your garden in open soil and wait until
early summer to add a fresh blanket of mulch.

A few years ago, a U.S. Department of Agriculture scientist found
that quackgrass contains a substance toxic to slugs. Since then,
many backyard slug slayers have experimented with crabgrass
cookies, which are made by mixing chopped, dried crabgrass leaves
with corn bran, cornstarch and beer. Then, the baits are placed
beneath plants, where the slugs eat them and die.

Another option is spraying coffee on plants that are plagued with
slugs. Caffeine in any form ? including a few No-Doz tablets mixed
with water ? is a slug neurotoxin that will kill these unwanted
pests.

When you’re down to only a few slugs, you can fall back on the
traditional organic control, which is to trap them with beer. Put
an inch or so of any beer in a cup, bury it in the garden nearly to
the rim and collect your drowned slugs in the morning. Or, put some
beer in plastic drink bottles and lay them on their sides in the
garden. The slugs will crawl in and drown. Dump them out and start
over again every few days.

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