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  • Writer's pictureKate

Activity of the day: Slug ID and capture!

This was just going to be a post about how cool slugs are - I mean, they’re kind of land octopi with a single tentacle- or at least their extremely distant relations - and how everyone should get out and ID a bunch of the different species you can find in your garden or local area out on a walk before they all hide away too much from the dry weather.

But then... this:

Yes. One of the many-toothed munchers has gone right across and chewed the tops off almost all the Crow Wood tomato seedlings. And half the sunflowers. These critters need rehoming to the compost heap ASAP!- and yes, that link takes you to images of snails. Slugs descended from snails- which is why some species of slug have mini shells inside them or on their tail.

Luckily DEFRA has a nice picture guide here to help us identify the culprit, as well as a lovely slug identification guide here from the John Innes Foundation. Only a few species of slug damage crops- most eat things that are already dead and decaying. Or earthworms, in one rather weird case. If you get into slug hunting, take a look at the RHS cellar slug survey if you'd like to contribute to slug research

Slugs are mostly nocturnal and like places that are dark, cool and damp. Look for them under plant pots, in amongst the bases of juicy leafy plants or in amongst damp shaded tiles, bricks or wood.

Slugs are hermaphrodites, meaning they’re male and female at the same time, and they also breathe through a hole in their side. And I’m case you didn’t follow the link above, they have LOADS of teeth. Well, denticles, but close enough.

To attract slugs you can use something that smells yeasty- like yeast or beer- but you probably don’t want THAT many slugs. Alternatively, put wet card or orange or grapefruit rinds on a border or near pots overnight- the below is what we have done- hopefully we'll have some slugs tomorrow:

In the morning, with any luck, some slugs (or their cousins the snails) may have decided to stay in the little hotel you’ve made them- at which point you can take a look and see what sort of slugs they are, then put them and their new home onto your compost heap or into your brow bin, where they’ll be happy and hopefully won’t eat your- I mean my- tomato seedlings ever again!

Happy slug hunting everyone!

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