Slugs can cause a lot of damage in a vegetable garden, this is why they are considered to be a pest. The problem with slugs is that no amount of baiting or trapping will catch them all, they reproduce relatively fast, and if you provide them an ideal environment to live they will eat your entire vegetable garden sooner or later. The good news is that once you get rid of what actually is attracting the slugs you will be able to get rid of them.
Slugs are attracted by a combination of food, shelter, and water, once you take one of these out of the equation the slugs will simply go away. The main food source of slugs is decaying plant matter and young seedlings, so if you are having an organic mulch or a lot of seedlings in your garden these will attract slugs. In addition to this if you have wet areas and places where the slugs can hide and reproduce will also attract them.
One way of keeping the slugs away is by drip-feed watering, this way the amount of water in the soil will not attract the slugs, my personal recommendation is to get one that also has an automatic mist cooling irrigation Click here to check it out on Amazon.com
If you are having a serious slug infestation in your garden then odds are that you are doing something that actually attracts them. If you are growing vegetables then this can be one of the main reasons why so many slugs are in your garden. Slugs tend to eat both decaying and young plants as well, while some plants will not be affected by the slugs but the wast majority of them will be eaten especially if they are seedlings.
In addition to this if you give them a lot of places where they can hide, like under wooden planks then the slugs will hide under the planks and reproduce as well. If you want more information on how to get rid of snails and slugs then check out my recent article How To Get Rid Of Slugs And Snails ( Top 19 Methods ).
Mulch Attracts Slugs
If you have been gardening for some time already then you are probably using an organic mulch like hay, grass, wheat, straw, and so on. These mulches are extremely beneficial for the plants, but they tend to attract a lot of slugs. As the slugs eat decaying plant matter you are simply feeding the slugs with your mulch. In addition to this, a mulch provides cover and moisture as well for the slugs, making it an ideal space for them to reproduce. If you want to know more disadvantages of mulching then check out my recent article Mulching Disadvantages ( Top 9 Cons ).
Seedling Attract Slugs
If you are planting a lot of seedlings then you have probably already noticed that slugs tend to eat them. In just a couple of nights, the slugs will be able to eat all your seedlings, sometimes they only eat the leaves while other times they will also eat the stem of the plants. Most seedlings will simply not be able to survive such an attack, and most of them will simply die off. The good news is that if the seedlings have some time to grow strong leaves, then the slugs will not go for them anymore as they tend to favor young plants over established ones.
Now you might think that if you use pesticides then these will keep the slugs away from the seedlings. The problem with these pesticides is that they act relatively slowly, even after the slug has eaten the slug pellet it will still have plenty of time to eat your seedlings as well. My recommendation is to cover your seedlings with plastic bottles until they are established and strong enough that the slugs leave them alone, for more information check out Protecting Young Plants With Plastic Bottles ( Slug & Snail Proof ).
Vegetables Attract Slugs
Leafy vegetables are an ideal source of food for slugs, and the more of them you grow the bigger the slug infestation will be. The good news is that some vegetables will actually keep the slugs away like garlic for example. The thing to keep in mind is that slugs will eat different things in different areas, meaning that you might get away in your area by growing leafy greens and the slugs will not bother them, or they will simply devour every leafy vegetable you have.
Wet Areas Attract Slugs
Slugs need moisture in order to survive, this is why they do not live in relatively hot and dry environments. Your garden has probably a couple of spots that are relatively wet and this is where most of the slugs in the area will hide and reproduce. If there are frequent rains in your area then this is also an ideal environment for the slugs. If you have shady and wet areas in your garden then make sure to cut the weeds and the grass down, this way the slugs will not have any cover.
Poor Draining Soil Attracts Slugs
Slugs love a poor draining soil as the moisture will be trapped in the soil for a relatively long time and this is what allows the slugs to actually thrive. If you have a well-draining sandy soil then you most likely do not have a problem with slugs. On the other hand, if you have clay soil then this can be problematic, as slugs love clay soil. While you probably do not want to replace the entire soil in your garden, but you should definitely use raised beds if you have clay soil.
Ground Cover Attracts Slugs
If you have planks of wood or other objects lying around in your garden then this is an ideal place for the slugs to hide. Some people use these to actually catch some of the slugs, although if you have a relatively large garden then you will have limited success with this approach. Try to remove all objects in your garden under which slugs can hide, the fewer places they can hide the further away they have to crawl for safety.
Slugs Are Attracted By Dead Slugs
Some slug types are actually cannibals and they will have no problem eating dead slugs. The bad news is that this is extremely problematic if you are using pesticides against the slugs. Once a slug has died and is starting to decompose it will attract other slugs, while some of these cannibal slugs will be poisoned as well, but for the most part, a small slug pellet is only effective at killing one slug. So if you are using slug pellets then make sure to remove the dead ones.
Frequent Watering Attracts Slugs
Frequent watering will attract slugs, and the bad news is that most of your plants need frequent watering. It is a good idea to water your plants in the morning as most slugs are nocturnal, but if you have a serious slug infestation then you will notice that the slugs will come out even during the daytime if you have just watered your plants. My personal recommendation is to use a drip-feed watering system, this way only the plants will get watered and the amount of water is way too low for the slugs to come out and play.
Beer Attracts Slugs
Now you probably do not have opened bottles of beer just sitting in your garden, but the number of people I have seen at a barbeque just spilling their beer onto the ground is astonishing. The fermentation process of the yeast in the beer is what actually attracts slugs. You can also use beer against slugs, with a beer trap, although if you have a relatively large garden then this will not be a viable option.
As you can see there are a number of things that attract slugs, now all you need to do is find out which one of these is causing your slug infestation. For the most part, slugs will live in your garden if they have a good food source, like leafy vegetables, seedlings, and decaying plant matter. Try to protect your seedlings and leafy vegetables with a plastic cover or with a bug net.