Adventures in Ethics and Science

The pattern of dry, overcast mornings continues.

Not very satisfying weather for a gastropod hunter.

The only gastropod action this morning was under bags of compost and potting soil, plus one slug hiding on the side of a raised garden bed.

There weren’t even that many weeds to pull while I was looking for snails and slugs to pick.

So … I’m revisiting the beer idea as a way to lure slugs and snails out of hiding (because they have to be hiding somewhere if they appear in relatively large numbers on dewy mornings) and make my morning gastropod forays more productive.

As I’ve mentioned before, our earlier attempts to set up the pan of beer were not wildly successful. We could tell from the slime trails that snails and slugs had been drinking the beer, but very few carried through by drowning their sorrows (and themselves) in the beer.

Can the proponents of the beer method make recommendations as far as the best kind of pan (or can) to minimize escape from the beer, the best way to set it up in the garden, domestic versus imported beer, etc.? The yard is large enough that we can probably implement a variety of beer-trap approaches, so don’t hold back.

Thanks in advance.

Today’s take: seven slugs and no snails.

Comments

  1. #1 MyaR
    June 9, 2009

    Well, I don’t have direct experience (the Bronx has bigger gardening issues than gastropods, although I do have some ripening strawberries and lots of tomato blossoms), but here’s Martha Stewart’s instructions:

    “Take a Ball jar and bury it in the soil so that its mouth is at the same level, or only slightly above, the level of the soil. How to apply: Fill the jar with beer (preferably dark ale) up to about 1/2 to 1 inch from the top of the jar. Why it works: Slugs are attracted to beer. If the trap is properly set up, the slugs will come for the beer and get stuck in the Ball jar.”

    As I remember it, they can get out of a saucer or flat container, but not the Ball jar. I don’t know about the dark ale recommendation. I’d probably just go with whatever was cheapest and drinkable, assuming the slugs and snails won’t get a whole six pack.

  2. #2 blf
    June 9, 2009

    Ch√Ęteau Free Ride is establishing itself as the place for gastropods to holiday: A big fresh lush salad, warm baths every morning, personalised attentive service, and (coming soon!) hot social clubs with free beer. Pretty soon you’ll be visited by Lonely Mollusca and the other guidebooks.

  3. #3 anne
    June 9, 2009

    My parents always used frisbees for the beer traps when I was a kid.

The site is undergoing maintenance presently. Commenting has been disabled. Please check back later!