Slugs are simply snails without shells. Their bodies are made up mostly of water and as they travel along, they secrete a tell-tale silvery slime in their wake.
They absolutely love veggie starts (and dahlia shoots) and will in no time ooze their way over a crop of tomato or pepper plants eating the top leaves off of the tender starts. Effectively killing them and ruining any chance of a crop of vegetables in the summer.
There are many options when managing slugs. You can find the different brands of slug bait at your local garden store that work well, but may be unsafe to use around pets and children. For us, though, I prefer to save time, money and the environment by making our own bait for our greenhouses and gardens.
One of the deterrents that works is to crush up used egg shells or nut shells and lay them in a thick layer around the area you want protected. The slugs don't like crawling over the sharp and ragged edges.
But, our preferred method is to use their love of yeast to attract them away from the plants. As slugs LOVE yeast, and our mix is loaded with it. Here is our concoction:
1/2 c. beer (any variety works well)
1 T. yeast
Get your container, any container will work, I save my good containers and just cut a yogurt container in half.
Pour the beer into the container.
Add the yeast and stir to dissolve.
(Notice all the slug damage we had before I put out the bait. Since then we have lost no plants)
I will then change the mix every 5-7 days.