Bowls of beer solved slug problem

Staff writer

Anyone wanting to know how to deal with slugs in the garden can ask Lenore Dieter of Marion. She knows all about them from firsthand experience.

For years, slugs were eating the lower leaves off the trailing petunias in the two brick planters at her house at 737 S. Freeborn. However, it wasn’t until last summer that Dieter finally learned what was causing the damage. She found out from Wendy Youk at Aunt Bee’s Floral and Garden in Marion.

“You have slugs,” Youk said.

She told Dieter to put small bowls of beer into the soil in the planters to trap the slugs. She tried it for several nights, and sure enough, she found numerous slugs floating in the beer every morning.

Dieter said she caught 72 slugs in two or three nights.

“You have to place the bowl so the rim is even with the soil so the slugs can crawl into it,” she said.

When her two grandchildren, Sophia, 7, and Emerson, 4, visited last fall, she told them about the slugs. They found two slugs the next morning. One was in the beer, the other was crawling into the bowl.

Emerson picked it up and said, “Grandma, the other one is dead but I rescued this one.”

“He thought it needed saving,” Dieter said with a laugh.

Dieter’s slugs are like slimy worms, only shorter, and they move like snails, leaving shiny trails in their tracks.

They need moist conditions to survive.

Dieter suspects the planters have an earthen bottom, and the slugs are coming up out of the ground.

She expects to see them again this summer, but this time she’ll know how to head them off before they do any damage.

“If you think little garden slugs aren’t harmful, you’re wrong,” she said. “They are.”

 

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