Precious little escaped the 2012 slug glut. They even ate the leaves of potato and onion plants. That's an escalation of our annual war, and it triggers a new arms race.
This is where the trials for 2013 have got to. For once, it does look very promising, for anyone who's lost any sensitivity about killing the hungry beasts. Humanely, almost benignly, I tell myself.
Essentially, these are beer traps.... but malt and hop free, which makes it very much easier and cheaper to apply, even for a home-brewer. And I'm still not resorting to chemical warfare.
The trap itself evolved from early prototypes cut from Tetrapaks, but the Mark2 series uses pretty much any rigid plastic container that's big enough for a slug to dive into, and that keeps the rain out. Used spread tubs, milk cartons, ice cream tubs.... they need no more than a slug-sized door or two cut well up the side . And (for any greenies worried about taking them out of the recycling stream) they're reusable, so that's the right side of the waste heirarchy.
Slugs do like beer.... but what attracts them is the yeasty smell. So an alcoholic concoction of water, yeast and sugar (beer without the flavour) brings them just the same. Here's the recipe .
Sugar/yeast SLUG BAIT
– making 6 ltr (3 bottles)
3 x2 litre bottles
½ oz (15g) yeast
Fill a 2 litre bottle with water. Dissolve 300gm sugar in about 0.5litre of the water, boiled in a large (2ltr plus) pan.
Add the rest of the water from the 2ltr bottle to the pan. Check it's warm, and crumble in 15gm yeast (Sainsburys - but not Tesco - in-store bakeries sell fresh yeast in 50gm or 200gm packs ).
When the yeast spreads, stir it in and empty the pan equally between 3x2ltr bottles
Warm another 4ltr water, and add to the three bottles. Cap loosely to avoid excess pressure buildup. Tighten cap after two or three days... and the bait is ready to pour into the traps.
The slug-pub is half sunk in the soil to give easy access to the alcoholic pool through the raised doorway, and the slugs waste no time finding the way in. Here's the evidence (not for the squeamish) of the morning after the night before.
It's in such poor taste, maybe the Sun would publish it. In the public interest, of course.