A couple of years ago, the Iberian slugs appeared, crawling slimily into our gardens. Murder slugs, brown slugs, Iberian slugs; they have many names. Nothing will stop them. In Iberia they might have had a place in the ecosystem, but in Norway they destroy gardens. Oh yes, put out a saucer of beer and a few will crawl into it and die, or they say that lining up that salt that sheep love to lick can create an inpenetrable boundary for slugs, though it might trouble your plants. It’s spring and I’m making plans and planting seeds, and I remembered a list I jotted down last year from some newspaper article somewhere. The lists of flowers are so beautiful.

Brown slugs love:

  • stemorsblomst – violets
  • tagetes – marigolds
  • l¯vetann – dandelions
  • hvite margeritter – daisies
  • asters – aster
  • lupiner – lupins
  • jordbÊr – strawberries
  • salat – lettuce
  • kÂl – cabbage

and they hate

  • roser – roses
  • fuksia – fuchsia
  • begonia – begonia
  • blomkarse – nasturtiums
  • l¯vemunn – snapdragon
  • rhodedendron
  • valmuer – poppies
  • And from personal experience, I’ll add lavendar, rosemary, peppermint and other strong flavours

I won’t plant those marigold seeds, then. And no daisies this year. With luck, they’ll eat the dandelions. I already have roses and rhodedendron and I’ve planted nasturtiums and poppies. Might get some snapdragons too. Just the name is reason enough.

The beer works. I put a little out last night and this morning there must have been 40 little half-grown brown slugs lying dead drunk (literally) around the saucer. Of course there are still hundreds and hundreds left.

13 thoughts on “loves and hates

  1. Ragnhild

    These Iberian snails have inspired a man from JÊren, Southern part of Norway, to invent a special box which should decrease the number of snails quite radically. The procedure is basically like this: You fill this box (costs 150-200 Nkr at a garden center, Byggmakker a.s.o.) with old apples, bananas, and other leftovers from the vegetable shelf. The snails are attracted to the odours from the fruit, and crawl into the box. The problem is, for the snails at least, that they cannot get out of the box again… I heard that some gardeners have collected up to 150 snails in a couple of days i a box like this, so it looks like it’s working. I guess it is not a nice job to empty the box, though…

  2. Jill

    Cool! Though I suspect the beer might work as well, and it’s probably easier – when I actually went out and picked up those slugs (using a plastic bag as a glove) there were far more than 40 there just after one night. The problem is that I think there are probably THOUSANDS of slugs in the garden – and it’s a really small garden. Probably smaller than my office…

    Also the beer gives me a wonderful excuse to have a glass of beer of an evening – it’s not just about enjoying a beer, it’s for the good of the neighbourhood because I use the dregs to catch slugs. Heh.

    Actually that sort of makes beer sound less appetizing, doesn’t it….

  3. Ragnhild

    The fact that the slugs seem to enjoy beer is a quite symphatetic feature, I must admit. If the circumstances were different, and they were seen more seldom, I most probably could have become friends with a couple of them… Perhaps the way they behave when they are exposed to the good stuff would have been a problem, though, I usually prefer my friends to drink the beer instead of drowning themselves in it…

  4. Jill

    Well, they don’t seem to drown, exactly. Most of the drunken slugs were found dead AROUND the saucer. As though they’d just had a wonderful party and were on their ways home, when…. The End.

    Makes you wonder, really, about creatures that love beer so much they don’t care that it will kill them. Good thing humans aren’t that way…

  5. Francois Lachance

    Have you tried bran? Worked to control not eliminate slugs in a Canadain garden.

  6. Espen

    This lethal weakness to beer might explain why those slugs are completely missing (but not missed) from my garden here in Denmark — beer is so cheap compared to Norway that I guess even a snail can afford it…

  7. Jill

    Ha – I guess I’ll have to move to Denmark – but won’t the slugs simply follow, eager to get into more beer?
    FranÁois, how do you use bran?

  8. Esther

    The vixen who visits our garden has a field day with our beer/slug trap…mmm tasty treats WHeeeeee!!!

    My mother also uses crushed eggshells around her favourite plants, the idea being that the slugs will not want to climb over the sharp edges, and if they do, will cut themselves to pieces. I think this version is horrible – and it doesn’t seem to work anyway which is jsut as well…

  9. Elin

    ho ho! Who said humans are not that way…..:-)

  10. Magne

    Interesting to hear that you already have had this year’s first catch. In our garden on the other side of town I haven’t spotted a single one so far. (Though having written this I suppose they will appear tonight!) There were some faint hopes that this year’s cold spring could have reduced their number, but I am not hoping for much. In my experience strong poison is the only way! (Along with careful crop planning as you describe it — forget growing cucumbers or pumpkins, too!) We usually buy slug poison on holidays abroad. The efficient stuff seems to be illegal or very expensive in Norway…

  11. Francois Lachance

    Spread the bran upon the ground around the plants. Diatomaceous earth is said also to be effective.

  12. Jill

    Talking of horrible, Esther, my neighbour taught me how to put salt into a bag of freshly picked (live) slugs. They actually MELT when salt touches them. It’s clearly evil, but, um, when very very sick of their destruction, um, well, OK, I’ve done it. The thought of live, suffocating slugs in a bag in my rubbish bin isn’t that great either. Death by beer seems much nicer.

  13. Laura

    i think slugs should be caught and thrown into your neighbors yard instead especialy if you dont like your neighbors

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