Dear Sun Spots: I have been having problems with slugs in my flower and vegetable plants. I think it’s worse this year than in previous years. Do any of your readers know of any solutions for this problem? – E. Lord, Vienna.

Answer: According to the Pest Management Office of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, slugs need moist areas, protection from sun and wind, and nourishment to speed their growth and increase populations. They suggest removing boards, rocks, logs, leaves and dense growth. They also note that it is wise to minimize shaded areas, rock walls, rock gardens or forested borders and leave bare ground or close-cropped grass next to vegetable or flower beds.

Slugs avoid crawling over anything dry, dusty or scratchy, such as lime, road dust, cinders, coarse sawdust, gravel or sand, so a border of any of these materials helps control slugs.

Another suggestion from the Extension is to place fly screen, four inches wide, on edge and partly embedded in soil to keep slugs out of an area. Boards, bark, or other materials not less than six inches square make effective traps when placed in gardens. Each morning you can gather the slugs from under the traps and destroy them. An hour spent hand-picking and destroying slugs can noticeably reduce the population.

Slugs can be kept from potted plants by placing the pots on boards or other supports over water in a pan. Alternatively, wrapping stems with cotton batting may keep slugs off plants. Copper tape is commercially available as a slug barrier. Toads are slugs’ most important natural enemy. Many people claim that several ducks keeps a garden slug free.

Slugs are attracted to and drown in a shallow dishes containing beer or baker’s yeast dissolved in water. Set the top edges of the dish at ground level and cover loosely with a board so slugs can easily get into the mixture.

If you’re using pesticides to control slugs, they remind you to read the label carefully and always follow label directions. If you’d like more tips and information, visit the Web site at pmo.umext.maine.edu.

Dear Sun Spots: I have old television tubes and RCA and Zenith modules with caddies. Also, old TV knobs. If anyone wants these at no charge, call Bob at 783-3935. – Bob, Lewiston.


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