Repelling Slugs

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understanding_bees 

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In the last few days there have been several comments which mentioned slugs which sometimes find their way into hives. In one of the comments, copper tape was mentioned as being a repellant for slugs and snails.

I had not heard of this kind of method for repelling snails, and when I did a Google search I was surprised to find that there are a number of sellers of copper tape which is advertised as slug and snail repellant. Some of the prices for these tapes are quite high, when the tiny amount of copper in them is taken into account.

I saw that videos have been loaded on Youtube – some claim that slugs are repelled by copper tape, and others claim that they are not. In the interests of science I decided to perform my own experiment. I have a coil of copper pipe – not thin tape, and this copper pipe is genuine copper rather than some alloy which may not work.

If claims are made that copper tape, or copper pipe, are effective slug and snail repellants, then they must work every time. In my experiment I placed my coil of copper pipe on a concrete paving slab onto which I poured copious amounts of water. I searched, and found about twenty garden snails, and a lesser number of slugs. After placing them inside the circle of the coil, I gave them an additional splash of water to encourage them to move. It was interesting to see several snails moving side by side towards the edge of the circle. Initially they seemed reluctant to climb the copper barrier.

It was not many minutes later that I realised “Myth Busted”, as a number of them had crossed several portions of the copper pipe. To anyone who contemplates buying copper tape to repel slugs and snails I would suggest that they find a better alternative.
 

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hemo 

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Slug repellent isn't easy and your little experiment is not conclusive, some swear by using it & some (as you have found) disregard it. A solution is many fold and natural predators in an ideal world one way, but hey can't be forced to be included or relied on. I have had hedgehogs and toads in the garden but not always near the hives.

Salt is very good but as we know it's application is tedious and no use when damp is about which for us in the UK is pretty much all the time when slugs are an issue. Salt though is bad for soil/ plants and wildlife. Snails aren't a problem here.

Whatever the answer is it has to be non toxic to other beneficial garden life.
 
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hemo 

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Scattering sand/sharp sand is another option around hives, slugs likely won't like it for crossing over due to the grit.
 

Erichalfbee 

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Copper tape works for me. You have to keep it polished. If it’s oxidised at all it doesn’t
 

simonwig 

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I've just made a raised bed and thought I'd try copper tape.

Just done a quick test to see if it works.......well that was a wasted fiver!

Simon
 

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drdrday 

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We use copper rings around the base of the climbing french beans, courgettes etc. every year. Definitely works to stop the slugs eating them in our garden, but how much of this is down to the properties of the copper metal and how much is just the physical barrier which they prefer to avoid I don't know.
 

Karsal 

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In the last few days there have been several comments which mentioned slugs which sometimes find their way into hives. In one of the comments, copper tape was mentioned as being a repellant for slugs and snails.

I had not heard of this kind of method for repelling snails, and when I did a Google search I was surprised to find that there are a number of sellers of copper tape which is advertised as slug and snail repellant. Some of the prices for these tapes are quite high, when the tiny amount of copper in them is taken into account.

I saw that videos have been loaded on Youtube – some claim that slugs are repelled by copper tape, and others claim that they are not. In the interests of science I decided to perform my own experiment. I have a coil of copper pipe – not thin tape, and this copper pipe is genuine copper rather than some alloy which may not work.

If claims are made that copper tape, or copper pipe, are effective slug and snail repellants, then they must work every time. In my experiment I placed my coil of copper pipe on a concrete paving slab onto which I poured copious amounts of water. I searched, and found about twenty garden snails, and a lesser number of slugs. After placing them inside the circle of the coil, I gave them an additional splash of water to encourage them to move. It was interesting to see several snails moving side by side towards the edge of the circle. Initially they seemed reluctant to climb the copper barrier.

It was not many minutes later that I realised “Myth Busted”, as a number of them had crossed several portions of the copper pipe. To anyone who contemplates buying copper tape to repel slugs and snails I would suggest that they find a better alternative.
I lost several colonies last year because i did not carry out my slug prevention. Some nucleus hives had over twenty large leopard slugs inside that had overwintered and slimed everything up inside.
This year I will be piling up rock salt ( Road Salt) around each leg of my hive stands that they will not cross. Secondly I use slug pellets inside jam jars laid on their side with a large enough hole for the slugs to enter but hedgehogs cannot get to the slug pellets. I place these on the landing boards.
This has worked in the past years and I stopped them entering the hives but I forgot last year and paid the price.
Used copper strips one year and they did not work.
 

Erichalfbee 

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I lost several colonies last year because i did not carry out my slug prevention. Some nucleus hives had over twenty large leopard slugs inside that had overwintered and slimed everything up inside.
Heavens.
Just goes to show the regional variations. Or is it more local than that?
We have a slug in the living room. Can I find it!?
 

MichaelB 

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I lost several colonies last year because i did not carry out my slug prevention. Some nucleus hives had over twenty large leopard slugs inside that had overwintered and slimed everything up inside.
This year I will be piling up rock salt ( Road Salt) around each leg of my hive stands that they will not cross. Secondly I use slug pellets inside jam jars laid on their side with a large enough hole for the slugs to enter but hedgehogs cannot get to the slug pellets. I place these on the landing boards.
This has worked in the past years and I stopped them entering the hives but I forgot last year and paid the price.
Used copper strips one year and they did not work.
 

MichaelB 

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Please don't use slug pellets,The problem isn't hedgehogs or birds eating the pellets.
They are very likely to eat the poisoned slugs and snails. Many of the slugs will consume some of the poison,but not a fatal dose.They then leave the jar to be eaten by other wildlife.
Over time the poison builds up in their predators which takes the poison into the eco-system at large.

Beer traps work really well,but probably best not placed on the landing board.I add some vinegar to the recipe below.Catches lots of slugs and snails,the occasional wasp,but so far no bees.
 

pargyle 

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I use copper tape around the legs of my hive stands ... I also use it around the timber legs of my strawberry tower - seems to work for me but as Dani says - only until it oxidises. I wonder if the tape being in a vertical plane rather than horizontal has a bearing on it ?

I also use crushed eggshells in the cut off bottoms of plastic milk containers ... I put some slits in the bottom so the water drains away. The egg shells don't dissolve and standing the wooden legs of hive stands and strawberry tower in these containers full of crushed eggs shells is a very effective barrier to slugs and snails. Cheap as chips compared to copper tape as well.
 

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