[NAFEX] Spring Cleanup

Lon J. Rombough lonrom at hevanet.com
Sun Apr 11 23:59:46 EDT 2004

I just posted something to another list that applies to newts.  In short,
they are great slug and insect eaters.  See the item below.

 what is a newts role in the garden?  Do they eat my
berries like slugs?  Do they eat slugs?  Or do they just hide under
leaves and eat rotting bits of leaf where it is wet enough for them?
That is, are they helpful, harmful, or neutral in my little garden?

   My oldest son, Chris, who is just finishing a degree in wildlife
management, has been doing experiments in encouraging the local reptiles and
amphibians.  He has placed old pieces of aluminum roofing around our yard
and in the fields to provide shelter for them.  He has been successful in
more than one way.  First, he has found as many as 31 of the native Garter
snakes under the sheets, and he is now finding the native alligator lizard
(a very small species that is quite harmless in spite of it's name, given
because of it's appearance).  In the process, the local slug population has
plummetted.  Chris was collecting slugs to feed some turtles he has, and he
now has to go far afield to find them.  In every case, there is an
ever-expanding radius around the sheets of alumuminum that are becoming free
of slugs.  The lizards hunt at night or in the very early morning, and the
snakes largely seek out the slugs underground where they hide.
  Ironically, when first placed, the sheets drew slugs from all over.  Then
the snakes and lizards moved in because they had a food supply, shelter, and
an area where they could get warm from the sun all in one spot.
  In short, if you don't mind the appearance of it, laying sheets of old
sheet metal siding is a good way to control slugs, assuming you have some
native reptiles and amphibians that will eat them, and you don't get in a
hurry before the animals find the shelter island/food supply.
  Oh yes, the sheets keep weeds from growing in those spots, too.
-Lon Rombough 
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