Tuesday, May 26, 2009
It's raining today, so it is a good day for dispatching slugs. I no longer use toxic materials added to solid bait. It is toxic also to furry and feathered friends. These chemicals were always highly effective and the liquid slug bait is still safe if used sparingly when necessary. The best organic method is to cut them in half, a rapid and humane way to eradicate them, and let them recycle 'in situ'. We have blacks, browns, grays and the ubiquitous banana slug. If you tally your kills you will be able to assess the efficiency of your control mechanism. You can even plot, number killed against cutting days, and come up with a nice Bell Curve if you are so inclined. Slug killing methods are contentious here in Lotus country! An incredible fact is, even killing is mildly contentious. That is because a zealous few see the active and ongoing digestion of organic material as nature's catalyst. Thank heavens they are not my neighbors! In respect to methods of execution, some advocate animal friendly methods such as ferrous compounds. They are not toxic, at least in modest amounts. The crows here however,eat the Safers ferrous pellets as soon as they are spread. They look like seeds. The company doesn't tell you that on the package. Those with small gardens advocate copper wire or copper impregnated fibre strung about the periphery of the garden. I'm not sure it works any better than a copper bracelet on the wrist keeps away demons but if it does, it would require constant adjusting. Various trap and drown systems are also available.Beer bait or other food materials are the bait. One year I collected a full garbage bag of hair from the barber shop sweepings, since someone told me slugs would not cross over a hairy strip. The pianist forbade it's use on the vegetable patch! Since slugs will cannibalize the corpse of their fellow creatures of any stripe, a dead slug half is the best bait of all for another slug. You can return with your trusty secateurs and slice the cannibal in half while he is enjoying himself. Two for one day! This keeps them occupied and away from your plant. Certainly, of the organic control options this is the most effective,surgically satisfying, accountability accurate, and consistent with good non-toxic recycling principles. It just means you have to get up early before they go under a rock. My tally today was 110 slugs including one banana slug.