If you’ve noticed slimy trails, chewed-up leaf edges, or ragged holes on your plants, slugs are the likely culprits. In many parts of the country, slugs lay eggs in August and September, so this is a good time to get rid of the slimy pests—and prevent future generations of slugs. Follow these tips to reduce the slug population in your garden:
• Handpick slugs off plants and drop them into a bucket of soapy water. They’re most active at night, so do this with a flashlight about two hours after sunset.
• Trap slugs by putting out boards, newspapers, grapefruit halves, or other materials that give slugs a damp, protected place to hide. Remove slugs from these areas once a day.
• Drown slugs in beer. Fill up a pie tin or other container with beer and bury the container so its edge is level with the soil. Slugs are attracted by the yeast, and will fall into the liquid and drown.
• Place one-inch barriers of diatomaceous earth, ashes, or similar materials around slugs’ favorite plants. It is difficult for slugs to move across dusty, dry materials. Reapply after rain. Some gardeners have also had success using copper strips (sold at gardening stores) as slug barriers.
• Use metaldehyde bait or iron phosphate bait, sold at gardening stores. Carefully read package instructions, as some chemical baits are unsafe around children, pets, or edible plants.