Thursday, March 29, 2012

Servall: Gardening Edition

Pests come in many forms but some of the worst are garden pests! Servall is here to get rid of any pest you come in contact with in your daily life. Spring is here and that means gardening, this is a blog post dedicated to the slug and how to manage these pesky garden visitors! This article comes from thestarpress.com:

As you get ready to get out and plant flower beds, and you might begin to see the early blossoms from the bulbs planted late last season, you might also start to notice garden pests. There are many garden pests I could discuss such as aphids, cucumber beetles, pill bugs and more, but for this article I will focus on the slimy mollusks of the pest world: slugs.

Slugs can be quite frustrating for gardeners because they shred leaves and sometimes defoliate entire plants. They eat by rasping with their mouth which scrapes the leaves. They lay eggs in the cracks of the soil. The baby slugs then travel through the soil and damage or destroy root crops, juvenile plants and germinating seeds.

These sluggish invaders are very different from the insects or larvae we typically see in the garden. Slugs are mollusks, so they have a very different body shape and composition than most of the other garden pests you typically see. Slugs can reach up to four inches in length, exhibit nocturnal behavior and prefer wet areas to thrive. Areas most common for slugs include gardens, basements, greenhouses and even flower pots. In order to battle slugs effectively you may need to take a creative approach, instead of just using a general pesticide.

First, it's important to understand that these gastropods depend on moist, humid environments to survive. They feed on molds, decaying organic matter, and of course, many of our garden flowers and veggies. If your garden bed area has specific pockets that retain moisture, then those areas are most susceptible to housing these slimy garden pests. Keeping mulch, which harbors slugs, away from the base of your plants will aide in keeping your plants safe. A simple solution for dealing with slugs is to put down a newspaper or wooden plank over those humid or damp areas in the evening. In the morning you'll find that slugs have made their way to the underside of the material-you can then simply pick it up and dispose of the whole thing. You can choose to throw them directly in the trash can or into a bucket of soapy water. You can also attract slugs by placing halved fruit rinds such as grapefruit, lemon, lime, and melons-scooped out and place upside-down throughout the damp areas in your garden. Leave them overnight, in the morning turn them over to find a congregation of slugs housed in the underside of the rinds. Dunk the rinds in soapy water to remove the slugs, then toss the rinds in your compost pile, or reuse them again as you did initially to trap more slugs. Another low-cost, environmentally-friendly option is beer. Slugs are naturally attracted to beer. Bury a small bowl, pie tin, or tin can filled with beer in the yard near garden beds so that the opening is at ground level. This will act as a trap where slugs will fall in and drown. The same trap can be baited with a mixture of sugar-water and yeast.
Table salt has been known as an effective means of killing slugs, but is not recommended because it will also potentially kill your plants. Chemical treatments made specifically for slugs and snails are called "molluscicides" or commonly known as snail bait or snail pellets. Metaldehydes, organic compounds commonly used as gastropod pesticides, cause irritation to the slugs and eventually cause them to secrete liquid until they dehydrate. "Diatomaceous earth" is an organic product that causes the same effect, but at less risk to pets. Because of slugs' natural aversion to metal and metalloids, some people will line their gardens with copper-based materials, including copper foil, as a repellent.

Garden pests, such as slugs, are a constant challenge for those passionate about planting an arrangement of beautiful flowers or a bounty of tasty veggies. Understanding the science behind the pests and their habits can help you prepare, prevent and fight against unwanted invaders.Good luck and happy planting!

Hopefully this article has helped you learn a little more about slugs than you knew before! As always if you find you have a pest problem visit www.servallpestcontrol.com and we will be glad to help you out!

2 comments:

  1. Slugs are such a garden pest, thanks for some tips on how to control them!

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