Slugs are animals that you normally don’t want to have in gardens or near plants. They, like snails, are voraciously hungry and eat all the soft parts of plant beings : leaves, stems,… they can even cause a lot of damage to cacti.
Knowing them will be very useful to know how to keep them away from our particular paradise. Let’s get to it.
- 1 What are slugs like?
- 2 What damage do they cause to plants?
- 3 How to keep them away?
- 3.1 Remedies to repel them
- 3.1.1 Egg shells
- 3.1.2 Transparent plastic bottle
- 3.1.3 Tiles
- 3.2 Remedies to eliminate them
- 3.2.1 Molluscicide
- 3.2.2 Beer
- 3.2.3 Salt
- 3.1 Remedies to repel them
How are the slugs?
Slugs are shellless molluscs that measure between 1 and 15cm. On its head we find four antennae, as well as the mouth that includes two jaws and very small teeth, the respiratory opening called the pneumostome, as well as a toothed tongue. Thanks to these, they can locate food and chew it without problems, something they do at night as they are nocturnal animals.
Depending on the species, they can travel, as long as the temperature is pleasant, between 4 and 7 meters in the same day , as is the case with the gray slug. As they do so, a gland located at the front end of the foot secretes mucus that allows them to move.
When winter arrives and the mercury in the thermometer begins to drop below 5ºC, they bury themselves underground, where they will remain until the spring heat wakes them up. Once the hibernation period is over, they will reproduce again.
It must be said that these mollusks are hermaphrodites, but not at the same time. First the male organs are activated, and then the female ones. The eggs are laid within a few days or weeks after mating, laying between 100 and 500 eggs in groups of 10 to 50 in holes dug in the ground . These eggs are spherical in shape, whitish yellow or transparent in color, and will be incubated for up to three months.
Life expectancy is between 9 to 18 months depending on the species.
What damage do they cause to plants?
Slugs are one of the main enemies of plants, especially if we live in an area where it usually rains regularly. The damage they cause is very similar to that caused by caterpillars, i.e. bites into tissues, although the molluscs will also leave a trail of slime on pots, leaves and stems . We may also see their droppings, which are more or less elongated, less than 0.3cm wide, and black in color.
How to keep them away?
We can opt for natural or chemical remedies to protect our plants. Let’s see what they are:
Remedies to repel them
They are especially indicated when there are very few specimens and the damage caused by them is not very important.
Crushed eggshells are one of the best shellfish repellants out there. In addition, they will serve to fertilize the soil as they decompose, and you only have to spread them on the substrate . Interesting, don’t you think?
For the remedy to be more effective, you can add ashes -of wood-, which will prevent other animals, such as aphids, from attacking the plants.
clear plastic bottle
If you have small plants you can protect them by putting a transparent plastic bottle on them , as if it were a greenhouse. Of course, you can only do it if you make some holes so that the air can be renewed, and only in winter.
These mollusks love dark and moist places. To attract them, you can place some tiles in a corner of the garden . By the next morning, I’m sure many will have gone there to protect themselves, and you can pick them up and carry them as far as possible.
In the event that you do not have tiles, you can put aluminum blocks or plates on them.
Remedies to eliminate them
These are recommended to be applied when there is already a major infestation, but it must be taken into account that the products to be used can be toxic to humans, so children and pets must be kept away from the treated areas.
It is found in nurseries and garden stores, in granules and powder. It is spread a little on the surface of the substrate or soil, or around the plants that you want to protect . Rubber gloves must be put on before application.
The smell of this drink attracts slugs, so it will become your best ally against this pest. You just have to put a container near the area you want to keep safe from their attacks, and fill it with beer . Soon they will start coming.
The salt dehydrates them. If you throw a little in an area where slugs pass, it will be very useful to keep the pest under control, and even to eliminate it. But you must be careful: if you put it on the surface of the substrate or near a plant, it will also end up affected.