Ways To Kill Slugs
Given the number of ways there are to kill slugs it might make you wonder why they haven't long been extinct. Ironically, most gardeners while disliking finding slugs or slug damage in their garden, either do little about it, or sprinkle some chemical slug bait around, hoping the dog doesn't eat too much of it.
Some of the ways to kill slugs, while quite effective, tend to be a little labor intensive, and other methods don't actually kill the slugs, but only captures them, leaving how to best dispose of the slimy creatures unanswered. The best way to kills slugs is having ducks or geese about, as they'll do about as good a job of getting rid of slugs as you will find. The downside might be that of finding a little duck poop scattered here and there, although that is usually preferable to finding slugs here and there. Chickens are said to do a pretty good job of getting rid of slugs as well.
The problem with some methods of killing slugs is that the slugs may find an inconvenient place to die, such as on your sidewalk or in a plant container. They are mostly made of water and slime, plus a few internal guts which stick around for a day or so before drying out, but a slug's corpse is not always the most appetizing sight.
Given that, here are several methods, most of them sure-fire, that will kill slugs.
Handpick Or Bait - Handpicking is effective, but distasteful to most of us, even if we wear gloves, which is advised unless one doesn't mind slimy fingers. One enterprising sole recommends using chopsticks, and it's easy to see that with a little practice, assuming you're not used to using chopsticks, picking off the little critters could be fun.
There are a number of organic slug baits on the market. The advantage here is that organic baits, in addition to killing slugs, are not harmful and in many instances are even beneficial to the garden environment as they add non-toxic elements and nutrients to the soil. These organic baits are generally non-toxic as far as pets or children are concerned, so are quite safe to use.
Slugs Hate Copper - Copper won't kill slugs, but they don't like it. In fact slugs cannot tolerate copper at all. We're not talking about sprinkling copper powder around, which wouldn't be effective anyway, but simply placing copper bands or barriers around prize plants and containers. The copper has to be kept polished to be effective. If it is allowed to oxidize it will no longer be effective. Pure copper reacts with the chemicals in a slug's slime, giving the slug an electric shock, so serves as an electric fence, not one to keep cattle or horses in, but to keep slugs out.
The Bar Is Open - Beer, honey, and dry pet food are all slug attractants. These food items won't kill the slugs, but the slugs will congregate and can be picked up and done away with. With beer and honey, actually a mixture of honey, yeast and water, the slugs will usually drown. Beer is a longtime favorite as far as slug elimination is concerned, as the slugs will usually flock to it. The disadvantage can be the necessity of figuring out where to dispose of a pan of beer full of drowned slugs, and the need to keep beer in stock if you have a large yard.
Almost any of the methods used to kill slugs have disadvantages as well as advantages, but the advantages usually win out. What method is best? If you live in the country and have lots of plants to protect, ducks or chickens may be the best way to go. In the city, organic slug bait may get the nod.