How To Protect Strawberries From Slugs

How do you keep slugs out of your strawberries?

Slugs Slugs have no shell, are slimy and have bodies that are flexible in shape. They move by gliding along on a muscular “foot.” This muscle constantly secretes mucus, which later dries to form the silvery slime trail that signals the presence of these pests.

  1. Slugs can be found on the plant at night and in the early morning, and under the plastic or other mulch during the day.
  2. They are sensitive to dryness, and will seek out moisture, making the humid environment under the mulch of strawberries attractive to them.
  3. The garden slug is larger than the gray garden slug.

It measures about 1 to 1.5 inch in length and is gray to dark brown. Living for about one year, the garden slug is sexually mature in about 3 weeks. This slug is sensitive to cold and many will not survive a cold winter. The gray garden slug is and about 0.5 to 0.75 inch (12–19 mm) long.

  • It takes from 3 to 4 months for the gray garden slug to reach maturity.
  • This slug is less sensitive to cold than the garden slug and is better able to survive mild winters in high numbers.
  • Peak egg-laying for both slugs occurs from late September through early November.
  • Most eggs deposited before late October hatch during fall; those deposited in November hatch from late February through spring.

Slugs feed on ripe fruit and produce that render the fruit unmarketable. These holes may be invaded by secondary pests such as sowbugs, earwigs, and small beetles. Slugs also feed on the leaves of strawberries, and the effects of the rasping feeding are ragged holes in the leaves.

Cleaning up debris in fields to make them less hospitable to slugs can help prevent large numbers of slugs from developing. If damaging numbers of slugs are present, baits can be applied. The elimination of hiding places such as rocks, weeds, logs and boards will assist in reducing the numbers of slugs, because of the removal of habitat.

Furthermore, growers can seek to plant away from areas with lots of debris, such as leaves and ground covers. Use cultural controls and Sluggo bait on organically certified strawberries. Apply baits during fall and spring when slugs are most mobile on the ground surface in search of food and mates.

Common name Amount per acre REI‡ PHI‡
(Example trade name) (hours) (days)
Not all registered pesticides are listed. The following are ranked with the pesticides having the greatest IPM value listed first—the most effective and, and the are at the top of the table. When choosing a pesticide, consider information relating to air and water quality, resistance management, and the pesticide’s properties and application timing. Always read the label of the product being used.
(Deadline M-PS) 10–25 lb 12
COMMENTS: Use higher rate for heavy infestation. This bait has minimal impact on other organisms in the field. Avoid contacting the fruit with bait.
(Sluggo G) 20–44 lb
COMMENTS: Apply using standard fertilizer granular spreader. If ground is dry, wet it before applying bait. Reapply as bait is consumed or at least every 2 weeks.


‡ Restricted entry interval (REI) is the number of hours (unless otherwise noted) from treatment until the treated area can be safely entered without protective clothing. Preharvest interval (PHI) is the number of days from treatment to harvest. In some cases, the REI exceeds the PHI. The longer of two intervals is the minimum time that must elapse before harvest. 1 Rotate insecticides with a different mode-of-action group number, and do not use products with the same mode-of-action group number more than twice per season to help prevent the development of resistance. For example, the organophosphates have a group number of 1B; insecticides with a 1B group number should be alternated with insecticides that have a group number other than 1B. Mode-of-action group numbers for insecticides and miticides (un=unknown or uncertain mode of action) are assigned by, # Acceptable for use on organically grown produce.

ul> UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Strawberry UC ANR Publication 3468 (emeritus), Entomology, UC Davis, UC Cooperative Extension Santa Cruz County, UC Cooperative Extension Santa Barbara County

S.V. Joseph, Entomology, University of Georgia

Do coffee grounds repel slugs?

by Trudy Bialic, Editor This article was originally published in March 2005 (March 2005) — Nature magazine is reporting a new, safer method to control slugs and snails in the garden — coffee. Researchers have found that slugs and snails just hate caffeine, so this offers a safer alternative to poisons; controlling slugs with coffee.

  1. A team from the U.S.
  2. Department of Agriculture Research Service in Hawaii were testing caffeine sprays to control a non-native species of frog when they noticed even a weak solution killed most of the slugs and snails.
  3. Concentrations as low as 1 to 2 percent kept the garden mollusks away from the plants that they would normally target for lunch.

Diluting brewed coffee with an equal part water is plenty to do the job. Coffee grounds have been recommended in the past as an organic method to keep slugs and snails out of your flower and vegetable beds. Grounds will repel slugs, but the USDA research team confirms that a caffeine solution is more effective.

Slugs reportedly will turn back immediately when coming into contact with caffeinated soil. Caffeine is reported to be even more effective than metaldehyde products such as Cory’s Slug and Snail Death, Deadline, and Slug-Tox. Metaldehyde is a poison that’s blended with a sweet-smelling base attractive to slugs and snails, available in granules, sprays, dusts and pellets.

It’s classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a “slightly toxic compound that may be fatal to dogs or other pets if eaten.” But according to the “Field Guide to the Slug” (Sasquatch Books), ingesting metaldehyde can cause damage to the nervous system or death in animals and humans.

  • The threshold for toxicity is related to size, making birds, small animals and young children most vulnerable.
  • Other commercial slug and snail baits are based on iron phosphate, which is a compound that occurs naturally in the soil.
  • They’re typically sold as pellets under the brand names Sluggo and Escar-go! When slugs or snails eat these pellets, they stop eating.

Manufacturers of iron phosphate products say they’re nontoxic around children and animals. Oh, and if someone tells you to sprinkle salt on your garden slugs, don’t. Salt makes the soil toxic for all but a very few salt-tolerant plants. Go for the caffeine instead.

Does straw encourage slugs?

Which Materials Are Useful and Which Are Not? – The reasoning behind most recommended mulch materials is that slugs and snails dislike crawling over dry surfaces. On dry soil, they lose a lot of mucus and, with it, vital moisture. So, materials that are exceptionally dry should serve as protection.

  1. The second group of materials has particularly sharp edges.
  2. These should hurt and harm the slugs, thereby stopping them from proceeding to the plants.
  3. Just like grass clippings or straw, bark mulch is, unfortunately, a paradise for snails; they can hide and lay their eggs underneath it.
  4. You should avoid these materials if slugs and snails are a problem.

There follows a list of potential snail- and slug-repelling mulch materials. Eggshells against slugs?

Do eggshells stop slugs?

5. Border control – Copper: Slugs don’t like to crawl over copper. A dozen or so pennies stuck into the soil around a seedling can form a border – a stripped electrical cable is even better. Cut the top and the bottom of a plastic bottle. Wrap the stripped cable a few times around it with one or two loops in it, fasten it to the bottle with duct tape through the loops and flatten the copper loops to the plastic.

Dig the plastic into the soil so that slugs don’t crawl underneath. If you use sticks to support the plant, wrap copper around the sticks too. Make sure none of the leaves touch the ground or any weeds touch the plant. Slugs can’t fly but they know how to find shortcuts. Egg shells: The sharp edges of eggshells help as a deterrent, but only when they are clean and dry.

When peeling an egg, try to remove the inner membrane and rinse if needed. Be aware that rain quickly makes the eggshells lose their effectiveness.

Does vinegar deter slugs?

17 Ways to Get Rid of Slugs – Q, I am writing to you from The United Arab Emirates, where the weather is often lovely, the sun is always warm and the flowers grow beautifully but my garden is a disaster area. It has been invaded by hundreds of tiny little snails.

  1. They attack the plants at night and hide during the day.
  2. They are everywhere.
  3. I tried spraying with Malathion but they still chewed to death everything-geraniums, impatiens, periwinkle.
  4. What can I do??? PLEASE help.
  5. Thank you! -Wadad Cook; School of Business, American University of Sharjah, U.A.E A.
  6. Thank you Wadad! Your asking this question will help reassure our poor mollusk-munched American listeners that snails-and slugs, which are simply snails without the half shell-are a universal problem.

Here are 17 methods anyone can use to try and stop either creature from devouring precious plants: 1) Buy ’em a Beer. But not stale beer! Research has shown that slugs like stale beer about as much as I do. It must be fresh-so wait until dusk to fill your slug traps; otherwise the beer will go stale during the heat of the day and repel the slugs (and me).

A number of commercial beer traps are available; and if you decide to go the old margarine tub route, be sure to leave an inch or two of the container above the soil line. (We’ll tell you why in #2). In the morning, your containers will be filled with dead drunken slugs. Use the cheapest-but freshest-beer you can find, preferably one with a real yeasty smell.

Ask your beer distributor if you can capture the excess when they drain return edkegs; they generally pour a lot down the drain when those ‘three day weekend’ kegs come back.2) Be kind to Rove beetles. Those big black beetles you often see in the garden don’t bother plants, but do eat LOTS of slugs and their eggs.

  1. Always leave an inch of your beer traps above the soil line so none of these very beneficial insects accidentally fall in.3) Let Lightning bugs shine.
  2. The larval form of these great entertainers looks nothing like the adult; “glowworms” (their actual common name) are segmented, wingless, and look like sow bugs or pill bugs, but already have that distinctive built-in flashing light-and these hungry babies eat lots of slugs and their eggs.

To encourage the adults to breed near your garden, don’t use lawn chemicals, turn off outdoor lights at night, and allow a small area of your garden to stay moist and a little weedy.4) Toads, too! Avoid ALL pesticides, provide water low to the ground and a damp shady spot for them to hide during the heat of the day, and these wonderful nocturnal predators will eat lots of slugs for you.5) And Ducks! These feathered friends are perhaps the best slug-eaters of all! And, all together now: “We can always use the eggs”.

  1. Thank you.6) Protect your crops with Copper.
  2. Slugs get an electric shock when they touch the shiny metal.
  3. You can buy ready-made copper plant guards or just adorn your raised bed frames with copper flashing and hot-glue rings of pennies around the tops of containers.
  4. Drop captured slugs into a jar of pennies and watch ’em spark! 7) Dust ’em with Diatomaceous earth.

Available at garden centers, ‘DE’ is the mined fossilized remains of dinosaur-era, sea-going creatures called diatoms. Looks like flour to us, but is incredibly sharp on a microscopic level, and dehydrates slugs on contact. (But it doesn’t work when wet.) 8) Irk them with Iron phosphate.

  1. Old chemical-based slug poisons like the malathion Wadad mentions are nasty, nasty toxic and cause a lot of collateral damage to birds, toads, pets and people.
  2. But this new generation ‘molluskicide’ uses regular old iron as its active ingredient.
  3. The iron is combined with a slug-attracting bait to make products with brand names like “Sluggo” and ” Escar-Go! “.

Safe for wildlife; death to slugs. And the little bit of left over iron is actually good for your garden! 9) Betray them with Boards. Lay some old planks between your garden beds. The vampiric slugs will crawl underneath them to hide from the sun. Come morning, lift the boards and scrape the slugs into a bucket with a flat piece of metal.

  1. Then do what you will.
  2. Got any pennies? 10) Catch them with Citrus.
  3. Leave a bunch of lemon, orange and grape fruit rinds out overnight near slug prone plants and then collect them-covered with slugs-first thing in the morning.
  4. How’s them pennies holding up? 11) Harass them with Human hair.
  5. Stop in at the barbershop or beauty parlor, ask for that day’s clippings, then surround your plants with a protective barrier of thin layers of hair.

The slugs will get all tangled up in the hair and slowly strangle. (Hey it was them or the hostas!) And the hair adds plant-feeding nitrogen to the soil as it slowly decomposes.12) Spear Some. Get a flashlight and a long Shish-ka-bob poker and go to town one nice evening-you deserve a little nighttime fun with a sharp stick.

  • Leave impaled slugs behind as a warning to survivors.13) Salt your slugs.
  • No, it’s not good to use too often, but it’s OK to get a little bit of salt in the garden every once in a while-and very emotionally satisfying.
  • You don’t need to cover the poor things; find a container that releases just a crystal or two at a time.

You only need to sprinkle one little grain on each slug and its orange goo by morning, baby! 14) Or season them with Vinegar. A spray bottle filled with plain white vinegar is a great cure for slugs that aren’t on plants. An extremely effective mollusk dissolver, vinegar is also an herbicide-so don’t spritz the salvia.15) Or Garlic.

  • New research has shown that garlic kills slugs.
  • A British garden supply company sells garlic granules for this purpose, but I’d simply soak the garden down after dark with one of those new garlic sprays sold for mosquito control, like Victor’s” Mosquito Barrier”.
  • It should kill lots of slugs, and keep skeeters away for a good two weeks.

It might even repel larger pests, like rabbits and deer! 16) Make them a cuppa Coffee. Even newer research found a coffee-based caffeine spray to be very effective at dispatching slugs. If I’ve got my percentages correct, you’d simply need to brew up a strong batch of Joe, let it cool, and then spray it, undiluted, on the garden at nighttime.17) Practice your Long Toss.

Douglas in Lawrenceville, NJ and Marc from Milwaukee both emailed me recently about “Nemaslug”, a British company’s brand-name for a species of beneficial nematode that attacks slugs. I checked it out and its true. This very special beneficial creature is, like all nematodes,so microscopic that their kitchen-sponge sized container holds millions of them. But Unlike other nematodes, they survive above ground as well as below, and prey on slugs and their eggs!

The bad news is that these wonderful widdle wormies are not yet available here in the US. Craig Harmer, product manager for Gardens Alive! who sell a number of other nematode species explains that the hold-up involves the British creature not being native to the colonies.

And it might be easier to find one than you think. It turns out that slugs who have been attacked by this nematode develop a kind of saddle-like structure on their backs. Find a slug with that distinctive physical marker, and you’ll likely have found the nematode as well. We’ll post a link to a photo of a slug with a nematode-induced saddle so you know just what to look for.

And hurry up-I want to turn these critters loose in my garden! You Bet Your Garden ©2004 Mike McGrath

Does cinnamon keep slugs away?

4. Cinnamon – How To Protect Strawberries From Slugs (Image credit: GettyImages) This store cupboard essential is a great method to combat a wide range of garden pests – including ants and slugs – without harming other wildlife or the plants themselves. It’s even said that you can use cinnamon in soil to repel gnats.

Does baking soda prevent slugs?

Keep Pests Away Sprinkle baking soda on your soil with a flour sifter to keep ants, roaches and slugs away from your garden. (Be sure to avoid your plants!)

How can I keep slugs away?

How do I stop slugs and snails eating my plants? (Hint: article contai How To Protect Strawberries From Slugs Slugs and snails are the bane of many gardeners’ lives. They are merciless, indiscriminate munchers of vegetable matter. They multiply fast, and can polish off a perfectly healthy plant within days, given any chance at all. As a beginner gardener, it can be disheartening when you discover the ferocity of these blubbery little critters for the first time, and it can be easy to feel as though you’ve failed at gardening if you lose a few leaves to some greedy new neighbours.

However, do not despair! Not everyone will experience problems with slugs, and there’s a lot we can do to deter them if you do find yourself host to their roving munching. The good news is that if you have a balcony, an enclosed garden or high-up terrace, they’re less likely to find your plants, and are easier to deter if you do find them.

But on the occasion you do have to do battle with them, here are a few tried and tested techniques: How To Protect Strawberries From Slugs 1) Crushed eggshells/gravel/woodchip or mulch Molluscs don’t like travelling over rough ground, so if they sense sharp edges, you can use this texture to deter them. How To Protect Strawberries From Slugs 2) Coffee grounds, Slugs don’t like the bitter taste of coffee grounds. Sprinkle coffee grounds on the soil around your plants to deter them. (Although coffee grounds aren’t good for pets, so this might not work if you have any four-legged family members roaming around.) 3) Copper pots and/or copper tape This is a really effective way to deter slugs.

It won’t mean they disappear from your garden, but if you can wrap sufficient copper tape around the base of your containers, it will mean that fewer or no slugs make the long and arduous journey up the side of the container to their buffet above. Slugs don’t like copper because it gives them a little electric shock when they slime their way onto it.

So what do they do? They turn around and slime off it. Problem solved. 4) Find yourself a friendly resident hedgehog. FAVOURITE TIP! This comes to you directly from the MD of Lazy Flora’s plant wholesaler. Hedgehogs, apart from being super cute and exceptionally good news for any garden’s wildlife, love eating slugs. So (almost) everyone’s a winner.5) Make a slug lure Set up a buffet bar for slugs, in an environment they find attractive.

The lure might be a Tupperware with beer or vegetable matter in it. If you can lure them to this area, they are less likely to focus on your plants, plus it’s super easy to then pick them up and dispose of them. (You might want to use your rubber gloves for this.) 6) Slug pellets, These are the big guns, and although in an ideal world we wouldn’t resort to this, but if all else fails, they do work.

If you are going to use slug pellets, make sure you choose a brand that is non-toxic to humans, pets and other wildlife. (It will clearly say on the tin if it is non-toxic to pets, wildlife and humans, and we wouldn’t advise buying them if it doesn’t.) So there are plenty of techniques you can try.

  1. But also don’t forget these important points: You can pick them up and move them! This is a very simple and reliable method of getting rid of them! Whenever you see them, pick them up and move them out of your garden.
  2. It isn’t the nicest job, because they’re slimy little things.
  3. It won’t stop them coming back, or new ones arriving, but it does put an instant stop to any sluggy party.

Be especially vigilant after wet weather, Slugs and snails like damp conditions, so you’re more likely to see them when it’s been raining or even during a rainstorm – a lot like the one we’ve had today. So Get to know your garden, Some gardens have more slugs and snails than others and there will be bits of your balcony or garden that have a greater tendency to provide a home for slugs and snails.

Pay attention to these areas and target them as the first locations for mollusc removal after wet weather. What NOT to do. DO NOT put salt on them, Salt makes them explode and basically kills them in an incredibly painful way. Apart from being a cruel and painful way to kill an animal, salt is really bad for plants, so we do not recommend it at all.

But be warned: slugs can be persistent. In order to defeat them, you must be equally so. : How do I stop slugs and snails eating my plants? (Hint: article contai

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