Keeping slugs, snails and earwigs away

July 27, 2015

Use simple things from around the house to repel little critters like slugs, snails and earwigs.

Keeping slugs, snails and earwigs away

A quick slug and snail barrier

  • When you don't have time to set elaborate traps for these garden pests, make an unbroken ring of wood ashes around your favourite flowers.
  • Snails and slugs will turn away from caustic ashes. Make sure to reapply the ashes after a rain.

Slug and snail trap

  • Slugs and snails devastate prized garden plants by chewing round holes in the leaves, leaving telltale shiny slime trails.
  • They climb up into plants like hostas and marigolds to feed after sundown and, in the morning, crawl down to hide in mulch or garden debris. Here's a nontoxic recipe for catching them.

What you need

  • 1 or more clear plastic drinking-water bottles and caps
  • 5ml (1 tsp) dry yeast
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) sugar
  • 250 ml (1 c) tepid water
  • Stale beer (optional)

What to do

1. Mix yeast, sugar and water together and allow it to rest for five minutes. Pour just enough yeast solution (or stale beer) into an empty drinking-water bottle, so that when you lay it on its side the liquid does not run out.

2. Lay the bottle on its side under a plant that shows slug damage or place under a vulnerable plant as a preventive measure. Slugs and snails will be attracted by the yeasty odour, crawl in and drown.

3. Check the bottle daily and when full, replace the cap, throw it away and make a new trap. Make as many as you need — these traps may not be beautiful, but they look better than the skeletal remains of a slug-eaten plant in the garden.

Easy earwig trap

  • These fearsome-looking insects can be identified by the pincers at the ends of their tails.
  • Although they don't hurt people, these nocturnal feeders can nibble plants overnight. Try this nontoxic control made with recycled newspaper.

What you need

  • Several sheets of used newspaper
  • String

What to do

1. Roll several thicknesses of newspaper into a tight cylinder and secure with string. Dampen the rolled paper and place on the soil near eaten plants.

2. Check the roll each morning to see if earwigs are hiding inside. If so, dispose of them in a securely tied trash bag and set out a new roll. Continue this routine until earwigs are under control.

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