Author Topic: The slug hunter with a strange new weapon  (Read 8161 times)

Vinlander

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The slug hunter with a strange new weapon
« on: March 06, 2022, 12:27:26 »
Just found this in NS.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg25333760-900-rory-mc-donnell-interview-the-slug-hunter-with-a-strange-new-weapon/

I'm interested because a friend had great success with a few ml of beer in bottles left on their sides.

The downside was he had to buy the beer, and of course it got weaker every day as the alcohol evaporated.

I'm not prepared to waste drinkable beer on slugs, so I tried using the lees I throw away after brewing (or home-made fruit juice that's fermented in the fridge - often delicious) - but for some reason the slugs weren't interested.

Using bread dough makes a lot of sense - especially in terms of economics - it's still fermenting while waiting for customers, and the flour will maintain the attraction too (and I suspect stale bread with a small dose of lees will work just as well - might even try adding cardboard - they seem to love it).

Can't wait to try it.

Cheers.

With a microholding you always get too much or bugger-all. (I'm fed up calling it an allotment garden - it just encourages the tidy-police).

The simple/complex split is more & more important: Simple fertilisers Poor, complex ones Good. Simple (old) poisons predictable, others (new) the opposite.

tricia

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Re: The slug hunter with a strange new weapon
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2022, 12:59:40 »
Thanks Vinlander - worth a try. I'll make a few balls next week when prepping my sourdough bread. I've already seen a few slugs and snails, not many yet as there is not much for them to munch on!
Tricia  :wave:

BarriedaleNick

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Re: The slug hunter with a strange new weapon
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2022, 13:38:43 »
I guess you just put it in a container that has a small entrance or it would just dry out?
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Obelixx

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Re: The slug hunter with a strange new weapon
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2022, 14:16:51 »
Or on the soil with a slate or something propped over it to keep off the sun.

I shall give this a try as I've recently started making my own bread - the French don't understand wholemeal - and I've discovered that slugs and snails may be the source of parasitic worms that have killed 2 of our recue hens.   Can't/won't use pellets so yeasty dough it is.

Thanks for the link Vinlander.
Obxx - Vendée France

gray1720

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Re: The slug hunter with a strange new weapon
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2022, 15:48:44 »
That's really interesting. I'm trying to be as wildlife friendly as possible, and I wonder whether a trap heaving full of gastropods might be a good way of encouraging snail eaters. I've never used metaldehyde, and really only use the iron phosphate pellets in the greenhouse where there shouldn't be too many worms, so this sounds well worth trying. Plus home made bread is rather tasty.
My garden is smaller than your Rome, but my pilum is harder than your sternum!

Tee Gee

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Re: The slug hunter with a strange new weapon
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2022, 16:27:26 »
One way I used was to create a resting spot for them during the day.

First, I would find out where they may be resting during the day, this could be a boundary hedge, an ivy covered wall, under the garden shed to name a few.

Then I would put a plank of wood between where I thought they were resting and the garden/allotment beds in the hope they would crawl under this instead!.

Then daily I would lift the plank to view them at rest.

This also made it quite easy to collect them up.

One method I liked was to use a metal skewer to stick them with, a method I nicknamed the 'kebab' method, so as I stuck successive slugs these pushed the previous ones up the skewer.
When the skewer was full, I removed them in one sliding motion into a spot I wanted to get rid of them. Sometimes I would slide them off on to a hard surface where predators could get at them quite easily!

OK I didn't get them all but I got many, so at least I reduced the breeding cycle!

Beersmith

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Re: The slug hunter with a strange new weapon
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2022, 19:58:18 »
One of the old hands on my field has always argued that it is the yeast rather than the beer that was the main attraction in beer traps  Maybe the yeast in the dough is having a similar effect.  Fermentation doesn't only produce alcohol but related organic chemicals too - perhaps they are playing a part.  Well worth a punt.

As an aside I'm in my late sixties but still regarded as a young un by some of the older hands.
Not mad, just out to mulch!

Beersmith

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Re: The slug hunter with a strange new weapon
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2022, 21:19:16 »

One method I liked was to use a metal skewer to stick them with, a method I nicknamed the 'kebab' method, so as I stuck successive slugs these pushed the previous ones up the skewer.
When the skewer was full . . .


. . . season lightly and place under a hot grill for about four minutes.
Not mad, just out to mulch!

Vinlander

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Re: The slug hunter with a strange new weapon
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2022, 11:45:14 »
Has anyone tried the dough method - works or not?

I suppose the truest test would be to compare dough under a plastic pot to the classic upturned grapefruit skin ?

Anyway I'm asking because I've not had any spare time since I opened this thread (especially at the plot).

It's mainly the fault of Eustace et al. - the broken fences and missing roofs set me back about a month.

The collection and disposal method is fine for my back garden (when I get around to it) but for the plot it would be better to find a replacement for the fire-and-forget method of laying metaldehyde pellets and counting the corpses.

I know the current ferric P pellets do work but they seem considerably less effective than the old kind. I think the biggest difference is that they don't seem to lure the buggers away from my plants before they trash them - especially the ones the slugs like most.

Has anyone tried rolling a ball of dough in Fe P pellets so it looks like those blue liquorice allsorts (but bigger)? I'm hoping they might absently eat the pellets while going for the dough?

I'm hoping to find time to do the test but now all my transplanting is a month late...

Cheers.

PS. I don't really care what attracts them to dough - but my money is on the alcohol and the malty smell. Partly because I did try using (worthless) brewing lees instead of precious beer, but despite the shedloads of extra yeast they weren't interested - though they might associate the smell of completed fermentation with the absence of sugar...
With a microholding you always get too much or bugger-all. (I'm fed up calling it an allotment garden - it just encourages the tidy-police).

The simple/complex split is more & more important: Simple fertilisers Poor, complex ones Good. Simple (old) poisons predictable, others (new) the opposite.

Obelixx

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Re: The slug hunter with a strange new weapon
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2022, 15:33:57 »
Didn't try it cos it turns out most of my munchers are snails now.   I used a few of the ferrous sulphate pellets in spring but found it was also a good idea to put bits of slate or broken ceramic pots under which they can sometimes be tempted to hide in the daytime.   Then I just go round and pick and squish.

They're mostly in summer hibernation mode at the mo as we have a drought and that means they're only active around my pots which get watered.

I will try the bread dough trick on them when we do get some moisture as they'll come after my squashes and courgettes which have a seep hose watering system.  Can't do owt about them at the mo as I'm in hospital having a new knee.
Obxx - Vendée France

saddad

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Re: The slug hunter with a strange new weapon
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2022, 18:03:11 »
Hope the Op goes well and you are soon back in action...  :wave:

Obelixx

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Re: The slug hunter with a strange new weapon
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2022, 19:00:55 »
Its gone very well thanks and I'm home.  Lots of physio to get back in form but I'm more ambulant than I expected to be so might manage some potting on tomorrow.  No bending down slug or snail hunting for a while tho and it'll be a while before I can drive a hoe.
Obxx - Vendée France

terrier

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Re: The slug hunter with a strange new weapon
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2022, 16:45:39 »
OH said she had read to put slices of cucumber down on metal platters, well, I tried this and something ate the cucumber ( I know not what) but very little slug damage this year, even the french beans are growing and they are usually decimated by slugs. On the down side, I have just spotted the first cabbage white I've seen this year, so the next battle begins.

 

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