Your garden is home to many small pests that visit your plants for sustenance. Slugs, one of the most hated pests, may seem like gross, squishy creatures that eat everything but are slugs beneficial to gardens?
Yes, slugs can benefit your garden as they eat small invertebrates that may harm your garden and stop them from overpopulating.
Slugs are often considered a nuisance in a garden as they’re opportunistic feeders meaning they eat anything they come across.
Slugs eat every type of vegetation. They eat it whole, from roots to shoots, making them very destructive to a garden, as you know!
However, no matter how damaging a large population of slugs can be to a garden, they can still be helpful if there are a few because they eat small invertebrates that may harm your plants.
As slugs eat small garden pests, stopping them from overpopulating, they aren’t necessarily bad to keep in the garden, and a small number of them will be helpful.
When a slug hides underground, they start making small burrows. These burrows aerate the soil. Aerating the soil is helpful to your garden and compost pile since air is important for decomposition.
Yes! Slug do pollinate some plants in very rare cases. Wild ginger is one plant that they are known to pollinate in the wild.
Should You Kill Slugs?
Killing any animal, big or small, may seem bad. In most cases, it is! But killing pests, like slugs or snails, can be helpful for your overall garden as these tiny pests can damage your plants and flowers if their population increases a lot.
Many slugs can eat all your flowers and plants, from roots to shoots.
Slugs in lower populations can be helpful as they eat harmful tiny pests from the garden, decreasing their populations rapidly. In the wet, cool soil of spring, it can be very sad for a gardener to find their seedlings and plants to be eaten by slugs after they wake up in the morning.
To avoid such an inconvenience, you should ensure that the population of slugs in your garden doesn’t overpopulate by limiting their numbers by humanely killing them.
Slugs get attracted to the damp or wet soil of any garden. Slugs dry out quickly, so they love moist areas that remain constantly wet. Slugs are opportunistic predators and will completely eat all types of foliage, making them very harmful to any garden with plants and flowers.
To ensure the safety of your precious garden, you will have to limit the slug population in your garden.
How to Get Rid of Slugs
You can rid your garden of slugs by using baits and traps. Here are a few options for getting rid of them:
Picking Them Up by Hand
As previously mentioned, slugs aren’t always bad, and a small population of slugs can be useful for a garden as they eat pests, but if your slug infestation is small, you can just limit it manually by only using your hand.
Simply go out in the yard after dusk with a torch and pick up any slugs you find using your hand.
Drop them in a bucket of water mixed with soap to kill them or put them somewhere the birds and snakes would eat them. Slugs are slimy and wet, so if you don’t want your hands covered with slug goo, you can wear gloves and pick them up.
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Planting Trap Crops
Another way to eliminate slugs from your garden is by planting trap crops.
Planting a trap crop means you will plant a certain type of crop that slugs in all stages will absolutely adore and only eat while ignoring all the other plants and flowers.
When all the slugs start eating the trap crop, you can sacrifice those plants and start your slug removing procedure by either taking away the whole plant or the slugs that are on it.
Slugs love tender shoots and the roots of new seedlings. Slugs cannot resist certain types of plants at any age of their growth.
For example, marigolds and basil plants are some of the slug’s top favourite plants. Planting a border using any of these two plants can be a good way to lure out all the slugs away from your precious seedlings.
One of the common ways to get rid of slugs from any garden is by putting out beer traps.
Beer traps are easy and cheap to make, and the traps always work because the slugs are attracted to the scent of the yeast in the beer.
These traps work, but using this method as the first line of defence is not recommended because it kills the slugs but also eliminates all the useful insects in the garden. So, try other methods; if those fail, try the beer trap method.
You don’t have to stick to using beer in a beer trap. You can use grapefruit juice, or you can use yeast mixed into water.
Are Slugs Essential Bugs?
Slugs can be disastrous to gardens as they have a destructive diet and eat every plant or flower in their path, but slugs can also be beneficial to gardens as they eat the harmful pests and critters in your garden.
Slugs also help by breaking down garden debris and making it nitrogen-rich fertilizer, enhancing soil nutrition. They’re also food for many useful animals such as birds, frogs, insects, toads, and snakes.
Slugs are small bugs that can be useful but also harmful, as you well know!
A large number of slugs can be destructive and may eat all your fruits, flowers, and plants, but a limited number of slugs will help you keep the nasty pests minimum, make a nitrogen-rich fertilizer and also be food for many useful animals.
Ryan is a keen gardener from the UK who’s spent years dealing with countless, common pests over the years so knows the ins and outs of how to deal with pests in the garden