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Thread: The lifestyle and habits of slugs.

  1. #1 The lifestyle and habits of slugs. 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope
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    As they say "know your enemy" .

    I do spend quite a lot of time combating slugs in my large garden.

    Ideally I know I should make the ground "slug fallow" as much as possible but his has proved to be beyond me and I remain struggling to repel their encroachments upon my defenses .

    So my question is "where can I find documentation concerning the habits of slugs and snails?"

    Examples of questions I would like the answer for are :

    "How far will they travel on average on a damp night?"
    "What do they consider their "territory"?"
    "Will they eat another slug that has been poisoned?"


    There are lots of other similar questions that occur to me as I spend a half hour or more at night killing them with a scissors so it would be great if there had been practical research done so that I might "know my enemy" and so save myself unnecessary detours as I attempt to minimize the damage they do?


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  3. #2  
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    I'm just learning about this. Our previous home was a paradise by comparison - didn't see a snail for 30 years. We had 3 families, up to 5 at one time, of blue-tongue lizards who kept the place completely snail and slug free.

    Down here I haven't seen a lizard at all. Not even a skink. But hundreds of snails and their slug partners.

    As I understand it, the best solution to slug and snail problems is to keep ducks. Which isn't very practical for most of us. For those who can accommodate them ... A Complete Guide to Using Slugs as a Resource with Indian Runner Ducks | PermacultureNews.org .

    I do think the idea of putting down logs of wood or stacks of bricks to encourage the little horrors to congregate is good advice no matter what your control/ killing method is. You don't have to track all over the place to get most of them, you turn over the hiding place and go for it. Follow up a few others, put your hiding place in a convenient spot for tomorrow's exercise ... and repeat.


    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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  4. #3  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope
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    I am guessing your situation is very different from mine.We get very few periods in the year when the ground dries up and neither do we get hard frosts (although on the few occasions that we have had hard winters the slugs don't seem to have suffered either).

    For people in my situation I believe the consensus is that there is zero hope of eliminating the problem - just keeping a lid on it.

    Since a large portion of my time (and expense) is taken with this control I hope that by applying my efforts intelligently I may have greater success. And that is why I feel that if there was an existing in depth study of how slugs actually behave in their environment I could perhaps learn a few extra tricks.

    Btw I think I disagree with you about laying down bits of wood etc for them to congregate as that forms part of my game plan.Since I do a daily kill run of the slugs near the plants it is far easier to do this when you know where some of them are during the day. The alternative is to hunt them at night only .

    I have thought about putting some kind of bait under these bits of wood too so as to attract them in greater numbers but I think attracting them is a double edged sword as I want them as far away as possible ideally.

    Another of the questions I would like resolved is whether they follow each other's slime trails.Can this habit be used to divert them from your beds somehow?
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  5. #4  
    Forum Professor Zwirko's Avatar
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    Exploit their behaviour. Slugs are in your garden to feed and find shelter.

    Feed them with something more appetizing than your garden plants, like fruit pieces and beer. Place a plate of goodies near your favourite plant. Or set up some beer-traps.

    Create nice cosy places for slugs to hang out. Once they are settled in for the day, just collect them and apply your own disposal method.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope
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    Thanks .You give your location as Cumbria .I would say you probably have conditions very favorable to slugs.

    I don't doubt your advice is sound but I am interested in whether there has been a scientific study into their behaviour that it could be useful to have knowledge of.

    I have tried googling this over the years but without too much success.

    Btw I do use ferric phosphate as well but I find something (probably the slugs) eat it up very quickly.
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  7. #6  
    Forum Professor Zwirko's Avatar
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    When looking for research type information, then it's probably best to start your search with the species name. Don't know if you've tried that?
    A common UK garden slug, for example, is Deroceras reticulatum. Many scientific articles about particular slugs can be found this way.


    p.s. I'm on the other side of the border.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope
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    thanks.That looks extremely promising .No I never tried that.My very first search on that term has thrown up

    Farmer Education - Online Courses - Farmers Weekly Academy which is the kind of thing I was looking for and already contains information and advice that is new to me.

    I hope you use your vote wisely.
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