Garden Pest Management: How to Build a Rabbit-Proof Fence and Slug Traps


Rabbits! They are ravenous in the spring when greens like spinach and lettuce are just coming up. For years I kept them at bay with a simple 2-foot high chicken wire fence held in place with thin bamboo stakes. It surprised me that even though I saw them jumping at least that high during late winter mating dances that they would not jump over my fence. I would see them nibble their way up to the fence and turn away rather than jump over it. The fence below protected us from ravenous rabbits for seven years.

This year was different!  I had just planted some potted lettuce starts spaced about two feet apart in a row. In between the starts I planted seeds for a multitude of lettuce varieties. I started to notice that pieces were missing from the leaves of the newly planted lettuce. In my garden, when large chunks of leaves are missing, I usually have slugs. I immediately put in a slug trap.

A slug trap consists of a beer drinker's delight. First buy some beer or raid you home brew stock. Use a beer made with lots of hops. When I first got into beer bait slug traps, I went to the beer store and told the old timer behind the counter what I was there for. He told me his grandpa always used Budweiser and I immediately flashed on the hops fields I had seen on my Colorado Mountain wanderings and the giant beer factory near Fort Collins that purchased those hops. The price was right so I snapped up a six pack. 

It turns out that since those early days of slug traps there are 10,000 new local breweries, some of whom brag about their hopped up beer so our choice of beers has been vastly enlarged. If you drink beer, or still drink beer it goes like this.

Slug Traps

Step #1.  In the area where slugs are doing their damage, dig a shallow hole and sink a bowl or flower pot saucer into the ground so the top edge is even with the dirt. Taste the beer. Pour some in for the slugs. Put a small stick across the saucer and place an inverted flower put over the beer bait. The flower pot keeps the rain and garden water out while the stick keeps the flower pot just above the surface allowing the slugs to slither along, slime and all, into the beer and drown.  This is what it looks like when completed.

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