by Doris Donnerman
(last updated July 26, 2008)
In the first few years of my marriage we lived in the country, and our home was surrounded by lush grasses, creeks, trees, and flowers. We had a large garden each year, and each year I fought with a pest as to who would harvest my lettuce bed first—me or the snails, and their cousins, the slugs. To make an annoying pest even more hated, each night they left slime trails up and down the length of our 36-foot wood porch, as well as the outside of our house. Late afternoon and evening clearly showed the pathways the snails and slugs took the night before, because our house was crosshatched with their slime trails that glistened and hardened during the heat of the day. When I'd go to pick lettuce from the garden, the snails had beaten me to it, making a Swiss cheese pattern on each lettuce leaf, as well as chewing through the foliage of my irises, destroying their beauty.
While we had a few snails, we had the greater portion of slugs. It happened that our wooden porch, with its dark and damp two-foot crawl space underneath, afforded the perfect environment for the slugs to live and breed. To combat the slugs and snails, I tried sprinkling ordinary table salt all over the porch floor each night, thinking the salt would dry out the slimy creatures and kill them. While the salt did kill the slugs when applied directly to them, it wasn't a good solution to the problem, since the salt also killed all nearby vegetation.
I went to the library and read about how to get rid of snails and slugs. Surprisingly, one of the strangest remedies worked the best. I tried the remedy that suggested to use beer to kill snails and slugs. Since we lived in a dry county, where alcohol sales were prohibited, I could not buy beer. Instead, I bought non-alcoholic beer, and it worked just as well. Follow these steps to kill snails and slugs with beer:
The snails and slugs won't be able to get out of the beer jar and will drown. If you don't want to use beer, use a solution of one-half teaspoon of baking yeast and one tablespoon of sugar in a jar of water. It's not the alcohol that attracts the snails and slugs; it's the yeast that baits them.
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