One of the ways gardeners tackle slugs in gardens is by using slug pellets. However, in recent times, chemical slug pellets have been under scrutiny due to the damage they cause to wildlife, including birds. So, what are bird-friendly slug pellets or alternatives?
Bird-friendly slug pellets are natural, chemical-free and tend to be made from wool.
Traditional slug pellets contain harmful chemicals that are poisonous to slugs but also to birds. Birds, one of the animals that feed directly on slugs, have a high chance of getting poisoned.
To preserve the life of birds, gardeners have begun to switch to bird-friendly slug pellets. These pellets are made from wool, which absorbs the slime which then kills the slugs by dehydrating them.
What are Bird-Friendly Slug Deterrents?
Unfortunately, while commercial slug pellets are an easy way out, they can cause extreme damage to the bird population. There are a few ways you can avoid using slug pellets and move on to other alternatives.
These methods are easy to use and are also a cheaper solution than slug pellets:
One of the common ways gardeners like to use against slugs is beer traps. This is a great way to trap slugs in your garden. Fortunately, you can make your own beer traps by using a small plastic container with big enough holes for slugs to pass through.
Next, you can fill the plastic cup with beer and leave it out overnight. When the slugs come out during the nighttime, they will be attracted to the beer. The slugs will drown in the trap upon attempting to taste the beer.
Apart from beer traps, you can use other forms of slug repellants. For example, copper has proven to be an excellent slug repellant.
This comes in different forms, the most common being copper tape. The copper encounters the slug slime and gives them an electric jolt. This ensures that the slug stays away from the plant.
In addition, you can also use copper mesh around individual plants or plant beds.
Smells and Sprays
Some other way you can deter slugs is by creating your slug repellant. Slugs hate strong smells like garlic, which you can use to make your slug repellant spray. You only need to boil some garlic in water to make a strong spray.
You can also utilize strong smells in your garden by growing some herbs. Herbs with strong scents like rosemary deter slugs. You can arrange the herbs in a border form or place the pots between your vulnerable plants to protect them against slugs.
Pick Them Up
If you have an early slug infestation, you can tackle the problem by picking these pesky insects by hand. You can pick these slugs early in the morning or evening when they come out.
It would be beneficial to avoid hiding places where slugs can make their home, such as rocks, logs, debris, and garden furniture or equipment. Slugs thrive in moist places, so it would be best to get rid of any grass or extra vegetation that harbors moisture and invites slugs.
Are Any Slug Pellets Safe for Birds?
Unfortunately, one of the most common ways to get rid of slugs is by using commercial slug pellets. These chemical slug pellets have harmful effects on the environment. Since these slug pellets have been used for a long time, people have a hard time switching to other methods.
It would help to understand the severity of using slug pellets by understanding how they operate.
Slug pellets are made from a protein that forms the plastic covering. These pellets are prone to attract different wildlife, including birds. When we talk about slug pellets, we are looking at two types in the form of metaldehyde and ferric phosphate.
The first poison will prevent the production of mucous, leading to dehydration. On the other hand, the second kind of slug pellet will kill slugs through iron poisoning.
It is understandable that any animal which comes into contact with the slug pellets will die a horrible death. Hence, there are a lot of birds that suffer from slug pellet poisoning and die each year.
While companies have tried their best to make changes to the colour and taste of the pellets, animals are still curious. Moreover, birds are still consuming the slugs, causing them to die if they eat a poisoned one.
If you wish to avoid this problem and continue to protect the birds, you must switch to a safer alternative. This alternative is in the form of woollen slug pellets which are organic and cause no harm to birds.
The woollen pellets are highly effective and work to deter slugs because of their rough texture. In addition, the pellets will also absorb slug slime and dehydrate them. Other than killing slugs, the pellets also act as a fertilizer as they can break down.
Also, due to their absorbent nature, the pellets will absorb most of the water, so you do not have to water as often, reducing the chance of waterlogging.
One of the major problems faced by gardeners of today is pests. One of these pests includes slugs which can be killed quickly and easily with chemical slug pellets.
However, wildlife such as birds is suffering from slug pellets being used. These birds die from preying on poisoned slugs or consuming the pellets directly. One of the ways you can avoid this problem is by using organic slug pellets.
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