The Q&A Archives: pill bugs and slugs

Question: I seem to have slugs and pill bugs in almost all of my flower beds, are they harmful? what can I do to keep them from harming my flowers? Also spider mites are a bit of a problem, I have repeatedly sprayed my plants with soapy water with little results

Answer: Slugs are generally voracious feeders and if you haven't yet noticed leaf damage on your plants, you certainly will. I'd handpick the creatures or use an iron-based control such as Sluggo or EscarGo. Pill bugs feed on decaying organic matter and typically do not bother plants, unless their populations are large and there is a huge competition for food. You can trap and remove pill bugs by dampening a newspaper page and rolling it up into a tube. Set the tube(s) in your garden in the evening. The pill bugs will crawl into them overnight and you can collect the tubes, fold over the ends, and toss them in the trash can. Do this for several evenings until you capture most of the critters. Spider mites love hot, dry, dusty conditions. They are easier to discourage than they are to control. Simply hose your plants off with a strong stream of water once every 7-10 days during the growing season and that should keep them from populating your plants. Soapy water won't bother them - but there are miticides available in garden centers that you can use to get rid of them.

Best wishes with your garden!

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