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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    North Stonington, Connecticut, USA
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    1

    Default Killing slugs without harming bees (Diatomaceous Earth (DE)?)

    Hi All.

    I'm new here. Please pardon me if I'm asking in the wrong forum. I did scan the choices, and this seemed to be the best forum for my question.

    I have a problem with slugs in my garden and since I've been keeping bees (I have 5 colonies in both Langstroth and top bar hives) for the last five years, I've never used any chemicals in my yard out of concern over harming the bees. But the slugs this year are getting out of control and devouring all my veggies. I have an organic gardening book that mentions DE <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diatomaceous_earth> as a slug killer, but it also mentions that it may be harmful to other insects (primarily soft-bodied creatures), including beneficials although it gets no more specific than that.

    Does anyone know for sure that DE is safe to use in the presence of bees? I wouldn't be dusting flowers of course (I'd be putting it on the ground), but I know bees sometimes collect dusty materials thinking that it's pollen, and I'm concerned that if they got interested in DE, that it could be really bad for them.

    And if DE is known to be unsafe for bees, does anyone have any suggestions for killing slugs that won't be harmful to the bees? The hardware store has only broad spectrum pesticides that I know will be harmful to the bees and I don't want to use that of course. Any suggestions would be most welcome.

    Thanks for any replies.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Ennis, TX USA
    Posts
    5,125

    Default

    Use Sluggo. Active ingredient is iron phosphate. It kills the slugs and then breaks down into fertilizer. Most organic centers carry it.

    Or if you are spot treating. Pour salt on them. Organic salt of course.
    Chuck Norris has a grizzly bear carpet in his room. The bear isn't dead it is just afraid to move.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Chilhowee, MO
    Posts
    94

    Default throw the slugs a beer party.....

    lol a drinking party. they love stale beer.. something in the scent.. put beer in a shallow bowl.. in the garden in a shady spot they frequent.. they will go in drink and drown.. bees generally are not tee tolers so should be safe..
    Smart man knows that the road is a one way street..
    Wise man looks both ways anyhow.......

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    259

    Default

    Unfortunately I don't have any personal experience with DE. I do know you can bait, drunken and drown slugs in a saucer or pie pan of beer. It's a little labor intensive as you need to set it out before night and collect it full of dead stinky slugs during the day and then reset it. but it does work.

    I recently read and article in Gardening magazine the "green" issue where the author swore by this idea. Warning it is gross and yucky. He recommends collecting slugs and whipping them up in a blender with water. He then sprays or sprinkles it back where he finds the slugs. It works he says because of either the smell of panic hormones (alarm pheromones anyone?) or just that slugs don't go where blended slugs are. This also works with bugs of various types. He recommends washing your harvest well before eating - ick.

    He also makes a concoction of hot peppers, garlic or chilisauce with water and a dash of liquid soap. Pureed strained and sprayed on plant surfaces top and undersides. Also wash off before eating.

    orange rinds left to attract slugs and then manually remove them from the garden

    I hope some of these ideas help - nothing more frustrating that seeing all your hardwork and gardening joy be destroyed.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    North Alabama, SW Kentucky
    Posts
    1,914

    Default

    Like you said, DE isn't selective. When I redid my mom's flowerbed, I sprinkled DE on the soil, covered it all with newspaper and topped it with pine straw. Her slug problem disappeared.
    WayaCoyote

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Quapaw OK USA
    Posts
    262

    Default Re: Killing slugs without harming bees (Diatomaceous Earth (DE)?)

    I have read everything I can find about diatomaceous earth and bees but found nothing. I have roaches in some of my hives.Will diatomaceous help and if so how much?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Washington County, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    55

    Default Re: Killing slugs without harming bees (Diatomaceous Earth (DE)?)

    I have used DE for years in my garden, and have never seen any dead bees, but I can't find any studies that deal with DE and bees. My experience says that DE wouldn't harm the bees if used in the garden. I have even considered experimenting with it in the hives for mite control, mixing it with dry sugar and letting the bees distribute it themselves. I don't think I would actually dust it into the hives for fear of clogging the trachea or having it get between the leg joints. Something as large as a roach or a bee would have to practically roll in it to cause damage, and then chances are slim that the damage would be mortal as in the case of a small or soft-bodied insect.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,109

    Default Re: Killing slugs without harming bees (Diatomaceous Earth (DE)?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Noelle View Post
    collecting slugs and whipping them up in a blender with water. He then sprays or sprinkles it back where he finds the slugs. It works he says because of either the smell of panic hormones (alarm pheromones anyone?) or just that slugs don't go where blended slugs are. This also works with bugs of various types.
    My dad used to do that for Japanese beetles, cabbage worms or whatever the bug du-jour was. One theory is that when you blend up a bunch of bugs some of them will contain bug specific disease organisms that rapidly multiply in the broth so it's like your are spreading bug sars or ebola or something. I've heard that blending them in milk and letting it ferment for a few hours makes it even more disgusting.

    I can't see why this wouldn't work on zombies too.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,160

    Default Re: Killing slugs without harming bees (Diatomaceous Earth (DE)?)

    DE works on slugs, & snails, by cutting their soft underbelly.
    Then they dehydrate.
    Dan

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Townsend, Mass
    Posts
    86

    Default Re: Killing slugs without harming bees (Diatomaceous Earth (DE)?)

    non iodized salt. Slugs almost destoyed all of my lillys and I used salt with no iodine. worked like a charm

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
    Posts
    1,398

    Default Re: Killing slugs without harming bees (Diatomaceous Earth (DE)?)

    DE works great. Yes it will kill bees. Killed one of my hives accidently with it. I sow it all around my hives on the ground and under the hives. Helps with SHB, SHB larva and other critters. I have put it on my veggies too. It appears to me that the bees seem to stay away from it when it's on plants. It's on plants around my hives. Have not seen any unnormal bee attrition.

    I also put it in trays that slide under my screened bottom boards. Just don't throw it up in the air where it can get on the bees. I can assure you that it will kill every bee in a contained area if the air circulating is full of DE.

    DE kills 3 ways:

    1: Slices the insects outside shell causing it to dehydrate and/or bleed.
    2: Gets on the insects body and absorbs the wax which keeps the insect protected. Insect dies from dehydration.
    3: Insects breath it in through their tracheal tubes (or whatever they have). It slices the insides of these tubes and any other organs it comes in contact.

    I am a distributor for Perma-Guard DE. They are by far the largest company which mines and sells DE. They only sell Food Grade DE. The FSF DE - Fossilized Shell Flour can be eaten by mamals and is good for their digestion. Including humans. Perma-Guard also sells a couple of Food Grade DE products which also have an added ingrediant which causes the insects to die faster by making them more hyper active. The more they move around the quicker the natuarl action of the DE does more damage.


    If you need more info, I will provide it if Perma-Guard has the info. There is also a very simple trap that can be made with a pice of cardboard, popsicle sticks, DE and glue. SHBs will get to the DE and die but the bees cannot get inside the trap.

    Ken
    De Colores,
    Ken

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Elizabeth, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    33

    Default Re: Killing slugs without harming bees (Diatomaceous Earth (DE)?)

    I'll second the Sluggo suggestion. We used to recommend it at the vet clinic for folks that didn't want to kill their pets with the usual slug/snail baits. It won't hurt bees at all, or anything else in the yard that isn't of the gastropod persuasion.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Posts
    972

    Default Re: Killing slugs without harming bees (Diatomaceous Earth (DE)?)

    I have been battling slugs this year due to all the rain. Simplest and safest method is to take a small can (tuna, cat food, etc.) and push slightly into the ground. Then half fill with beer. I caught literally hundreds the first night. If the dogs and cats get into it no problem just makes them a little happy

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Clifford Township, PA
    Posts
    2,057

    Default Re: Killing slugs without harming bees (Diatomaceous Earth (DE)?)

    Iron phosphate pellets (Sluggo, Escar-Go, and other brands) is the single thing that lets me garden with the huge number of snails and slugs that are attracted to my heavily mulched garden. As Hambone said, you can find it in the organic section of garden stores.

    The main problem I had with it suddenly started disappering from the garden beds overnight. Turned out crows love to eat the stuf and I had to make scarecrows to protect the pellets.

    Wayne

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Washington County, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    55

    Default Re: Killing slugs without harming bees (Diatomaceous Earth (DE)?)

    Questions for USCBeeMan. How specifically did you kill off a hive? Was the DE used as a dusting on the frames? Since mites typically cause more problems in the off-season, I've been wondering about mixing DE with supplemental feeding during spring build-up if the hives show signs of mite problems. This thread might need to move to the biological thread as a new topic, I'm just learning about threads and such.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
    Posts
    1,398

    Default Re: Killing slugs without harming bees (Diatomaceous Earth (DE)?)

    I was sowing out some DE around the hives. Had a gust of wind take a clump of it up onto the landing board at the entrance. Several weeks later the hive was dead. Emerging bees died as they tried to get out. Plenty of stores and bees.

    I also did a cutout in a chimney. Opened up the chimney in several places and vacuumed out a huge amount of bees. The bee vac was still on the roof with the vacuum running to keep the bees cool.

    At some point I decided it was time to go ahead and spray the inside of the chimney openings and entrances with DE that I had put in a "sevn pump sprayer". The type you grandma use to use. Sprayed the powered DE very throughly inside the chimney. All of the bees were dead within 2 days.

    Stopped the vacuum, unhooked it from the robovac (beehive inside of suction area). Brought bees home. Gave them all to my helper. He called me the next day and said they were all dead. I have never had a total kill of bees using my robovac before or since. In fact, the kill off is very miniscule. Less than 1% probably.

    Well I checked the boxes when he brought them back and the hose portion that sucks the bees into the robovac. There was a coating of DE dust in the hose.

    Bees died for inhalation of DE which killed them from the inside.!!

    Do not put DE as a feed additive for Bees!!!!!! Great for animals and humans but not insects.!!!!

    As a feed additive for horses (an example). DE keeps the feed free of bugs. Horses digest the DE/feed mixture. Get some trace elements and also kills parasites and certain bacteria in the GI tract. (Other benefits show up.) Almost 100% of the DE is removed via the manure. Flies lay eggs in the manure. Eggs turn into larva/maggots. 100% kill off of the maggots as they move through the manure filled with DE. Eventually there is very little fly problems.
    De Colores,
    Ken

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Washington County, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    55

    Default Re: Killing slugs without harming bees (Diatomaceous Earth (DE)?)

    Thanks Ken USCBeeMan, you confirmed my suspicions. Those are the very reasons I had been hesitant to do any experimentation beyond thought experiments. I use DE in my chicken's feed from time to time and can confirm its effectiveness in fly control, it's not even necessary to use it all the time, just on a random when I remember basis.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Killing slugs without harming bees (Diatomaceous Earth (DE)?)

    I use Sluggo on my garden, and it works fantastically. I get mine at Agway. Lasts through a rain or two, as well.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Killing slugs without harming bees (Diatomaceous Earth (DE)?)

    [QUOTE=tenqueens;430886]Hi All.

    I'm pretty sure as long as you are not using it inside the hive, it should be okay. I use it in and around my chicken coop, where I store my feed, on my lawn and in my gardens and have NEVER seen a dead bee. I'm also fortunate enough to have a bee-tree on my property. In fact, I WISH it would kill wasps, but I've seen no evidence of that either . I first discovered Food Grade DE here: http://www.gardenharvestsupply.com/P...-Earth-c11.htm If you scroll down there is a bunch more information about all of the uses for DE and how it works. And for all of you who don't know...it works on bedbugs too! Never had the pleasure...and hope I never do...but good to know.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Yuba City, CA, USA
    Posts
    63

    Default Re: Killing slugs without harming bees (Diatomaceous Earth (DE)?)

    I use DE around the base of my hive to keep the constant surge of ants from getting to the honey and so far it's worked pretty well. Occasionally a bee will fly into the powder, some will fly right out and get back to business others will roll around in until they eventually die, but I have not seen any case of mass-casualties.

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