Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The war on slugs

Just when I thought our vegie patch was rather blessedly free of garden pests, we have had an invasion of slugs and the rotten buggers have targetted our strawberry patch.

Around a month ago, one of our strawberry plants started to fruit prolifically, producing what looked like they would be big luscious fruit. Then to our great disappointment, just as the fruit was ready to pick, we'd discover that some rotten little pest had gotten to it first! At first we couldn't see any traces of the culprit and suspected birds, but then we found the tell tale silvery trails.

First we tried pouring coffee grounds around the patch, having read that the caffeine is enough to make slugs and snails keel over. That didn't seem to deter them though, so onto plan B - Beer!

We decided to try two different traps. One is the standard chinese container buried to ground level. The other the CPD came up with, which uses a cranberry juice bottle that is partially buried with an openning cut into the side. This one has the advantage of being relatively rain proof. That night, the CPD decided a spotlighting mission was in order to check the effectiveness of the traps.
The mission uncovered slugs that were indeed going for the beer...having a drink and then crawling back out! The beer was about a day old by this point so the CPD tried some fresh VB, which seemed to have the desired effect (i.e. slugs turning themselves inside out). So, mission accomplished, the CPD packed up the spotlight and headed back the house...and forgot to close the gate to the vegie patch, leaving it open for our two beer-loving puppies.

The next morning, there was no beer, no traps, no slugs, and worst of all, no strawberries! After all of that we've decided that a few spotlight missions and two bricks will do just fine for slug control.

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