Slugs & Copper

Part of my garden in unused Scottish farm land with a high slug population. I've read that slugs don't like copper too much and I have plenty old copper cable lying around that I'd like to re-use. Has anyone had any success with this?
Thanks,
Floyd
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Copper has an "unstable" electron configuration which allows the easy flow of electrons within the metal. Supposedly wet, slimey creatures can feel this and dislike it. I imagine the best repellant would be the copper insulated from the ground, as in sitting on top of a plastic strip or other insulator. One major problem with this setup is the instability of exposed copper. It readily oxidizes and combines with airborne contaminants to form a non-conducting coating. Coating the copper with something to prevent this chemical tarnishing would negate the repelling ability as much as the tarnish. So unless you would like to get out there and sand down or chemically clean your copper every month or so (depending on your air quality) to expose a nice shiney surface, I'd suggest an alternate method. Fence in the area and buy some guinea hens, chikens, ducks or geese and turn those slugs into eggs and poultry. Gary

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I think that the notion that electricity has something to do with slugs and copper is unnecessarily far-fetched. All metals have "unstable electron configurations" but most do not bother slugs. More pertinently, copper is a poison to which slugs and snails are exquisitely sensitive. I expect that a slug in contact with copper senses big chemical trouble and tries to get away asap.

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Floyd:
The cheapest and easiest way to kill slugs is beer. Here's what you do: get a plastic container that's 2 or 3 inches deep. Pour an inch or two of beer into the container. Finally, bury the container so that the top is at ground level. Slugs are extremely attracted to beer and will drown themselves in the pool of beer. You'll get results as soon as overnight.
If the slugs are really big, you'll need to adjust the amount of beer.
If you're having problems with rain water, take a two liter soda bottle and cut the top off; reattach it so that it's inverted, allowing the slugs to crawl into the bottle when it's on its side; fill with beer; place on its side. If this sounds too complicated, try erecting some kind of umbrella over the containers.
Good luck (but you won't need it).
Floyd wrote:

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"Beer traps do attract slugs but don't reliably kill them unless the trap is deep enough slugs can't reach over the top to get out (so saucers don't work, slugs climb right off the saucers, but Yoplay yogurt plastic cups are just barely too deep for a slug to climb out of, so it drowns in the beer). Such a trap would also endanger frogs & small lizards & beneficial insects that per chance fell in, without really resulting in a dramatic lessening of the slug population."
Not just any ol' beer will attracts 'em either:
"[Some] findings from the Colorado study: slugs don't like Rainier Beer, Strohs, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Coors, or Millers. Anyone who likes these beers lacks even the good sense of a slug. Anheiser-Busch beers were across the board better liked, inducing one soul to suggest a new brand, Slugweiser; but nothing equalled non-alcoholic Kingsbury Malt in slug appeal. Slugs don't like flat beer at all, they want it fresh. Slugs don't like wine. Gallo Wine was slightly more appealing than plain water, but not by much."
Re copper:
"For cold-frames or raised beds, it is possible to attach copper flashing to the frames. Slugs do not like to cross copper because it causes them to experience a minute electrical discharge (or such is the prevailing theory). It works only if the copper strip is wide enough they can't raise their bodies over it. The majority of copper stripping sold in garden shops for this purpose is not wide enough to create an effective barrier, which would need to be six inches wide, or the largest most destructive slugs will hump right over it without touching the copper.
"Copper-barriering an entire garden is not going to be practical, but it is an excellent method for protecting very sensitive seedling beds or small containers. Copper screen or copper flashing can surround a raised bed, or for small planters, copper foil (such as Snail-Barr) can be used to wrap the entire container. Shrubs can have a band of copper around the lower trunk.
"Copper needs to be cleaned periodically with vinegar or will tarnish & no longer have the desired effect. Personally I cannot imagine going about making rings of copper for all the shrubs or encircling gardens with copper mesh, risking my hands or the feet of animals that can be cut on the edges of copper, then remembering to periodically polish the copper scattered about the garden. But at least this is a system that can work, unlike so many folklorish methods & worthless toxins that desparate gardeners try."
Excerpted from: http://www.paghat.com/slugcontrol.html and: <http://groups.google.com/group/rec.gardens/msg/e74ae1376e8002d8?dmode=source
-paghat the ratgirl
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Six inch copper? Good Lord, what kind of slugs are we having here? Something big enough to "hump" over that is big enough to eat! Maybe a night watchman with a shotgun is required. (is there a hunting season?) Old Chief Lynn
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barrier,
Something
watchman
My parents have some species of slug in their area that is larger than your thumb! The slugs I have are so tiny that you can hardly find them which makes them really hard to eliminate by picking them off by hand.
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Larger than your thumb? That sounds like a little 'un to me.
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Warm Regards,

Claire Petersky
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in oregon (at least the willamette valley part) there IS a hunting season on "banana slugs" so called cuz they're about the length of a banana and they're yellow. in the early mornings, the "snot" trails are so numerous and shiny, you can see them BEFORE the sun even rises!!!
i'm not sure who wrote it (or why) but in warshington state, especially in the tourist shops, there's a cookbook having many recipes using banana slug as the "meat of choice."
ahhh, what is a slug but escargot without a home on its back?? (ARGHHHH!!!!!)
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paghat wrote:

Ok, here's a solution that fixes both the depth and reptile problems. Put a lid on the container and punch holes in it, large enough for slugs to get through, but small enough so your wild reptiles won't accidentally fall in. The bottle on its side also accomplishes the same thing. And in my experience, the beer doesn't have to be too deep to drown the slugs.
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I wondered why I has no luck doing this. It turned out that the dog was drinking the beer.
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I have used copper pennies in rings around hostas. This works while the plants are young. When the leaves grow and expand beyond the circle they are no longer effective. I have had the most sucess with beer. Small round ziplock containers buried to ground level filled 3/4 full will protect 2 - 3 plants. Empty and refill every week or two regardless of rainfall.....I have them in an irrigated area and the traps remain effective fo this long. I use Molson Canadian for my bait. Not for human consumption......

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