Opening the blinds at the weekend I was greeted with a rare sight indeedy. Not only did the sun well and truly have his hat on, but rumour had it he’d be wearing it for a good couple of days.
Dashing off down the garden to get on with some jobs that didn’t involve bailing water out of the beds, I was dismayed to see that we had some visitors who had been having a fine old time in the damp conditions. Slugs. One that I pulled out of the brassica bed was so big the chickens had a job swallowing it.
If you believe everything you hear, there is more than one way to skin a cat, 50 ways to leave your lover and 50 more ways to kill a slug. One of these involves sneaking down at night time and catching them in the act, whereas others involve killing the little blighters. With the ongoing debate about whether slug pellets are harmful to other birds and other creatures, I decided to try out making a slug pub. Basically it’s a sunken container with beer in the bottom. Evidently slugs can’t resist the heady pull of the beer, and once in, find it nigh on impossible to leave; much like many of us at our local watering hole.
Peering into the fridge, I spied lager, bitter, Guinness and cider. Purely in the name of research, I cracked open a can of bitter, took a mighty swig and wondered if the slugs would appreciate this fine brew as much as I. Now to make the traps…
I enlisted the help of the youngest son, and very soon we had four jam jars buried in the soil, dotted around the veg plot. We positioned them under the canopy of leaves where possible, to stop them being flooded out when it rained. Very soon, each of them had an inch or two of beer in them.
The next morning I could hardly contain my excitement as I inspected the traps. Result! Our first haul had produced two fair sized slugs that would otherwise have been happily chomping through our cabbages.
Apparently the beer needs to be replenished regularly as slugs have a fine palate and don’t like stale ale. I may try lager next and see what success rate we have with that.
I’m happy that the slug pubs seem to be working, and that I haven’t had to resort to pellets just yet. I can also empathise with the slugs. If I could choose my method of deployment, I’d pick drowning in a vat of beer over choking on a blue rock any day of the week.