Now that the cabbages are in the ground and the flying rats have hopefully been defeated by the cabbage netting, it’s time to add ground defences against the old enemy, slugs. Instead of putting down chemicals and poisons to kill the little monsters, we prefer to dispatch them with a smile on their faces, and blind drunk.
We used these traps last year and caught legions of slugs that would have otherwise been feasting on our veg. This year’s traps have just been deployed in the garden veg plot and over at the allotment, and here’s how to make your very own slug trap. Note that no beer was drunk, but it was very tempting.
Step 1 ~ Materials ~ Grab a couple of milk bottles from the recycling box, a sharp knife, and a bottle of beer. Don’t waste your finest bottle of Stella Artois on the slugs, get a few cans of Tesco extra strength value beer as it does the same job. You’ll need a couple of bottles for every 4m vegetable bed. Coke bottles, magarine tubs, or any similar sized plastic container will do just as well.
Step 2 ~ Make the trap ~ Cut the bottle so that you have the bottom section a few inches deep. You’ll also need a chopping board for this step unless you want to have someone nagging at you for marking the table with a bread knife. You can either open your beer now, or take a bottle opener to the allotment with you.
Step 3 ~ Installing the trap ~ Another blindingly simple step, dig a hole in between your cabbages or other veg that you’re trying to protect. Put the bottle in the hole and backfill. Leave the top a bit above the level with the soil to stop beneficial insects from falling in, and you’re done. Open beer, pour in until the trap is half full. You’ll need to set a couple of traps per bed, approximately 2m apart, but it depends on how big you veg beds are really.
Step 4 ~ The Roof ~ You’ll need to add a cover over the top to stop the rain getting in and washing away all the beer. A slate is ideal, but a brick, peice of wood, or anything heavy enough to stay on when the wind blows is fine. Now all you have to do is wait for the slugs to pile in and drink themselves to an beery grave. Clear out the traps every now and again, and re-set with fresh beer.
Just a few days later and the traps are filling up with slugs. If you’ve got chickens, they’re in for a beer marinated treat! It’s a shame to let slugs feast on things you spend so much time and effort to grow, so as I’ve shown that these beer traps work, get going and make your own before your early crops are eaten by the dreaded slugs.