Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Kegger in Slugtown

Before moving to Corvallis, I knew little about Oregon. But my experience at the Great American Beer Festival taught me that Oregon (Portland, specifically) was the origin of the microbrew revolution in the 80s, and that Portland has more breweries per capita than any other city. When I first moved here from Colorado I was impressed by the beers here - not just the quality and diversity, but the availability; unlike Colorado, you can buy craft beers at the grocery store any day of the week, and it doesn't cost much more than mass produced beer (at least for now).

I'd also heard about the slugs. When I was a kid, my older sister went to Oregon on an Outward Bound program (or some such), and when she got back she told me about the banana slugs she saw here. Slugs aren't very common in Colorado, so when I first saw them here (the non-banana kind) I found them kind of endearing. After being here awhile I find them less so. But the easy-to-get inexpensive microbrews still haven't lost their charm.

Given the surfeit of beer and slugs in Oregon, it's not surprising that the "beer trick" for trapping slugs in your garden is common knowledge around here. But it was news to me when I first heard it, so I'd like to share it with my friends and family in Colorado (specifically my sister, who asked me about it).

- Get beer. It doesn't have to be good beer (slugs aren't snobs).

- Get a small jar lid. It doesn't take much beer.

- Place the lid near the base of the slugs' favorite plant.

- Push it into the ground so the lip is level with the ground, (this step is optional, the lip of the lid is a small hurdle for the beer-thirsty slug).

- fill the jar lid with the beer.

- Wait for the slugs to come in and drown.

I just leave the pickled slugs there. The birds will eventually come and eat them. I add more beer (more or less daily) to replace whatever gets lost (some evaporates, some gets washed away in the rain or during watering, some is spilled or drunk by birds or other critters).



Eric said...

The beer trick works for some other pesty animals too. My family used to concoct these elaborate bee traps with two-liter bottles, beer and a piece of lunch meat.

Basically, you cut a two-liter bottle into two pieces, about a third of the way from the top, then invert the top piece so that it forms a funnel into the bottom piece. Poke two holes, one on each side of the top of this new bottle structure and tie a string across it. This both keeps the top half from sliding down and serves as the line for the bait. Pour beer into the bottom of the trap, and drape a piece of lunch meat on the line.

It sounds a bit like a Rube Goldberg machine, but at family reunions these things were always filled with bees. I think the theory is that they come for the meat, stay for the beer, then drown.

I suspect you would rather get bees into your garden than keep them out, but I figured it was a fun little bit of beer-trap family folk-knowledge.

Also, the beer tax thing makes me want to cry and that banana slug picture is awesome!

akrizman said...

I like the way the slug picture turned out too, but it's not a banana slug, just your garden-variety slug. I had my camera on a super-zoom setting which makes it look bigger than it is. It was early morning when I took the photo, and I like how the dew really highlights the slime balls.