A New Slug Control?

For those of you with excess slugs and bread dough–here’s another tool to put in your arsenal in the war against slugs!



Interesting. I see from the article that the bread dough is just being used as an attractant, and they still had to use a poison to kill them (which was not recommended).

“We gave them a choice of food and they consistently went for the bread dough,” Dr. Mc Donnell said. “They really, really like it. They went bonkers for it. Bread dough outperformed everything.” Although researchers used toxic metaldehyde to kill slugs when they got to the bait, discretely located traps can ensure that a pesticide is not used in a broadcast manner and disposed of properly. However, many traps and baits, such as the Snailer, will work with bread dough and water without the need for additional pesticide, as they bar pests from exiting and cause the slug or snail to drown. Use of metaldehyde should generally be discouraged as the chemical is a suggestive carcinogen, with evidence of neurotoxicity, kidney and liver damage, and reproductive harm."

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Thanks for the info! I will definitely try this out because we seem to have a never ending supply of slugs. I think I’ll trying combining bread dough with a safe slug bait and also create some traps and manually collect the slugs when they’re feasting on the dough. Linda Gilkeson has a recommendation for the use of safe slug bait in this newsletter: http://lindagilkeson.ca/gardening-pdf/Winter%20Gardening%202021%20-%20April%2025.pdf

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I use this mixture which would be quite similar and works well for me.
1 cup water
1 tsp flour
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp dry yeast

Throw everything into a jar and mix it together.
Raid your recycling bin for some shallow containers and sink whatever you scrounge up into your garden bed so that the tops of the containers are level with the surface of the soil. In effect, you’re creating a drop of doom/swimming pool sort of scenario. Pour the bait mixture into the containers so that they are about 3/4 full.


Thank you for the recipe. When I’ve tried liquid baits like this in the past I unfortunately found a lot of dead bees in the mixture. Has that happened to you? Any tips to prevent that?

I haven’t noticed that, I do catch lots of earrings. Are you catching Mason bees? I will keep an eye out this season.

Mostly honey bees, but some mason bees too.
I’d like to catch some earwigs!

I love to think of the slugs taking the ‘Drop of Doom’ before they have a nice meal of bread dough! :joy: I did think this was more of a trap solution rather than a kill solution. i.e you trap the slugs and relocate them. I know the article talks about a lot of slugs being non-native/invasive (in Oregon at least–not sure how we fare up here). Slugs do do a lot of good–i just don’t want them in my lettuce or my flowers. I like to throw them over the bank, far, far away…

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Apparently, the only slugs around the Island that are native are the big yellow ones called Leopard or Banana slug, and a little blue-grey one that only lives in the forest. Not sure I’ve ever seen any of the latter, and I rarely see any of the former these days. I always make sure to save the Banana slugs, but the black ones don’t get as much care.

Denman Island author Des Kennedy wrote an interesting book called Living Things We Love to Hate: Facts, Fantasies & Fallacies. Slugs do play a role!

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Thanks Kim this is excellent info. One of those things I’ve wanted to delve into but never have. The book looks great too. Des is pretty funny.

When you DO want to kill a slug, how do you go about it? I did the salt thing once and it was so awful I decided to never do that again. There must be a better way… by that I mean fast. Any good methods you have to share?

We have a tried and true method of reducing our slug population each year, which works very well. We have about an acre of developed lawn and garden around our house. Each Spring, my wife and I go slug picking over about a two week period. We try and out do each other, as some days we can collect nearly 800 slugs (yes, you read it correctly)! After doing this, our yard is not quite slug free, but no issues in the vegetable gardens.

We usually dump the slugs across the creek we have in the back so we do not have to terminate them, and they do not come back.

I agree that the salt thing is really unpleasant. I just toss them in the bush that we have on our property surrounding the gardens - on the other side of the driveway. The yellow ones I move more carefully. That’s probably not very useful if you don’t have bush surrounding you though. My husband is less merciful and kills them with a stick that has a large nail on the end, that he skewers them with.

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@Gordon I’m surprised after all these years of picking that your population hasn’t dwindled by now. That is a little disheartening actually…is it because there are so many slug eggs hatching, do you think?

Yes, it can be frustrating. However, we do not ever get all the slugs, and slugs do come over from our uphill neighbours. I am sure the slug eggs are also contributing. The bottom line is that once we do the picking, there are significantly fewer slugs, and no garden box issues, for the rest of the summer. And the years we do not pick, huge problems all summer.

No method will be 100% effective, and even if it were, the slugs would still come back - nature always finds a way! Besides, they are just hungry, and going about their daily lives. I would feel badly killing them, as I have done in the past.

I use beer in my containers and they fill up with slugs very quickly.