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Slug Control Using Copper Sheet

18 years ago

IÂve seen information indicating that thin copper strips, 2" or more in width, can be placed around flower pots or raised beds as obstructions for slugs to crawl over. Also, that slugs do not like to cross copper because it causes them to experience a minute electrical discharge.

Want to do a little experimenting with this. Has anyone had any experience with this - anyone know why aluminum sheet or foil etc. wouldnÂt have the same effect.? Anyone try building a Âslug fence with copper wire?

Out here thinkÂn maybe the slug should be the official coastal PNW mascot - any info would be appreciated

Thanks - Dave Steele

Comments (8)

  • lauraann
    18 years ago

    I tried the copper tape used by stained glass artisans to wrap around some of my Aroids and Podophyllum petioles and it worked great. That was with very tiny slugs we had in the Southeast, nothing like the monsters up here. I'm thinking of trying it anyway.

  • ellen_portland
    18 years ago

    Funny, I was just thinking about this very same thing driving to work this morning. I had planted Heather next to our driveway last year and the slugs/frost obliterated all of the ground cover I planted with it. I was daydreaming of how I could make some sort of short decorative copper barrier fence against the back shrub/neighbor area where the little buggars come out of hiding at night and cross into the planting bed.

    Surely this has been marketed somewhere? I've used the copper tape on my pansy containers with great success!

  • flora2
    18 years ago

    I have use copper (that I bought at Smith and Hawkens) with great hopes. I was not terribly impressed and when I talked to someone about my multiple failures I was told the copper has to stay shiny for it to work. It seems like it does not work as well when it gets "old and dull" which, of course, happens rather quickly here. I'd be curious in learning about your experiences. Thanks

  • derevaun
    18 years ago

    I've used the adhesive copper tape sold as a slug barrier in garden stores. It works well on planter boxes but would be a bit impractical for a large bed because any bridge or gap will eventually let the little zombies through. I use Sluggo for bigger jobs--so far so good.

    I made some seedling protectors out of soda bottles with a band of copper tape around them and it worked quite well. The tape can really slice your fingers up, but it's fun to go out at night holding a flashlight with the bandaged fingers and watch them bumble around.

  • reg_pnw7
    18 years ago

    Bigger slugs require a wider barrier. What works well in the rest of the country requires a doubling up on the copper tape to work here - but it does work.

    Copper is used because it is a very good conductor of electrical charges, which is why it's used in electrical wiring. Aluminum is also good but not quite as good a conductor as copper is. Gold and silver are between copper and aluminum in conductivity but obviously you don't want to be using them for this project ...

    Aluminum foil is cheap though, and you already have it around the house probably. As a bonus, aluminum foil mulches are known to repel aphids.

    Wire would probably not work because of not being wide enough, since I have to use a double wide band of the tape to keep the slugs out.

    The college I work at here in Olympia was considering the banana slug as its mascot but UC Santa Cruz is already using it. The true banana slugs, btw, do not eat garden plants much. They prefer decaying stuff like dead vegetation and dog poop. The real ravagers of your garden are the huge brown european slugs and the myriads of little bitty slugs you can barely see. The banana slugs around here are not the bright banana yellow that the CA slugs are, like UC SC's mascot, but more of an olive greenish yellow, often with big black patches. Hiking along the Hoh River last summer I noticed that nearly all the banana slugs are a pale ghostly ivory color, very pretty against the green moss, so there are different species of banana slugs. Who knew???

  • dottyinduncan
    18 years ago

    In past years I have put pots of cymbidium orchids outside for the summer in my perennial garden, and I have placed the pot on an aluminum pie plate. I have had no trouble with slugs eating them. Downside, is the pie plates don't look very nice, but I put them in the back of the beds. Interesting thread -- slugs are the bane of our existence here in the PNW. My DH got a nice long stick and screwed an old knife blade to it. It makes a great slug gun. Some enterprising person should market them. Slice and dice is eco friendly.

  • realtomfrench
    8 years ago

    There is a new fly killer on the maket and table salt is the "bullet" used in this plastic gun. Wouldnt it be great to point and shoot rather then having to sprinkle salt on each one.

  • Mike McGarvey
    8 years ago

    I think you would need a gun that shoots rock salt. Even then you only see a small percentage of the slugs out there.

    I use slug bait around cuttings and seedlings and don't grow plants, when mature, that slugs like. I don't grow many veggies anymore, just ornamentals.


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