Saturday, September 18, 2010

Slugs and beer traps... the results of my first beer trap experiment

This is part of my series in which I attempt to find out just what method will control slugs in my garden. See: War on Slugs for just why I am subjecting myself to this experiment.

The first part of this experiment was to find out just how quickly slugs will drown. I filled up three cat food cans with water and plopped about 20 slugs in.

A few minutes later. Didn't take long for them to just crawl right back out. Barf barf. Just what you want to be looking at, right? 

I replaced the water with beer, waited 24 hours. 1 slug decided to drown itself, but notice the other one. Sticking its ugly head in there and taking a bit fat drink over the side. The rest of the slugs are on the sides of the box or crawled onto the lid.

A couple hours later. A different slug taking a drink over the side. The big slug that you see that drowned was the result of me accidently knocking it off the lid.

Clearly my experiment did not work. So, perhaps putting dirt in the box to make the soil level flush with the level of my containers will work as many sources recommend doing. Doubt it will have any effect, but its worth it to give it a shot.

Alive and well. Nearly two full days later.

 Notice just how much beer the slugs drank. The cans were full to the brim 2 days prior.

The lid of my box. Slugs have crawled well away from the beer traps.
In the end, there were a few slugs that drowned in the beer. But at least half survived.

An interesting side note, I looked through Steve Solomon's books again for additional slug information and he mentioned that the Great Grey slug as most detrimental to crops, which is easy to identify. And remember, the Banana slug is actually a beneficial insect.

So what do you think? What do you suppose would make a difference in my experiments? Deeper containers? Pie tins?

For a list of all of my slug control experiments, please see this page. 


Anonymous said...

I wonder Amy if maybe the beer could be used as an attractant and if you're diligent you can make several trips to gather and dispose of the evildoers. Just a thought....

Steve said...

Stick its ugly head there and take a drink fatty little side. The rest of the slugs are on the sides of the box or crawling on the cover.

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MM said...

I've had good luck with beer traps. I use plastic containers from sour cream etc. I don't know if it matters, but I always clean 'em first. I take the lid off, cut three or four 3/4 inch squarish holes semi-equidistant around the perimeter of the top, pour an inch or so of leftover beer in (it doesn't seem to matter what kind of beer either, from stouts to lighter beers), and put the lid back on. Then I stick it in the ground near a troubled area. I usually insert it about an inch into the ground, so there's a little bit of distance for the slug to climb up into the holes. This helps prevent ground beetles falling in, I've heard. I used to find dozens of drowned dead slugs within a couple days. This coupled with sluggo seems to have worked really well in my front yard vegetable garden.

MM said...

(containers with lids help during the rainy seasons that the slugs love so much, you don't have to dump water out and start over)

Anonymous said...

Someone suggested to me to add a little yeast to the beer . . . am giving that a whirl tonight . . .

Unknown said...

I love beer. I like to drink beer. It is my favorite drink. It best as a medicine for kidney stone treatment.

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Unknown said...

What if you put salt in the beer so they'd die once they got in there?

Lotus said...

I've just had my own first go with beer traps for slugs and snails. I've used much deeper containers (old yogurt cartons; plastic water bottles; pasta sauce containers) and have cut a hole in the side, filled with beer up to the hole in side and put the lid on the container. Then I put them semi buried in the ground. After 2 days I had floaters in each trap. Works for me!

Anonymous said...

Yeast is the attractor, and alcohol the killer (or add salt perhaps).

Drowning is the not the big killer.

A low alcohol beer may not be enough, so what beer did you use?

Anonymous said...

Get salamanders. They cleaned up a lot of slugs in my garden.