Springtails

We were discussing the organic control of snails and slugs at the last swap and I mentioned using yeast traps.  As we don’t drink beer and it is a bit expensive to buy them just to use in traps (unless you can get ‘slug beer’*), I thought it would be similar to ferment some yeast.

So I dissolved some sugar/honey in lukewarm water and added active dried yeast, just as you would for bread/pizza dough.  And I put this in the containers that are planted in the various locations in the garden beds.

I did get a few slugs or snails occasionally but most times, they are filled by what I was told were “Springtails”.  I mentioned this at our discussion and surprisingly no one knew what they were. Now that got me curious and I confirmed that the name wasn’t made up by my kids; they are avid readers and love creepy crawlies!

So I found out about Springtails from, where else but Wikipedia.  In short, one particular type of springtail, – “the lucerne flea, has been shown to cause severe damage to agricultural crops and is considered as a pest in Australia.”   But in the same paragraph, they are deemed beneficial to agriculture – “However, by their capacity to carry spores of mycorrhizal fungi and mycorrhiza-helper bacteria on their tegument, soil springtails play a positive role in the establishment of plant-fungal symbioses and thus are beneficial to agriculture.”  What do you think?

Well, I think I’ll just let them be as I meant to catch snails and slugs.  No more yeast traps for me.  Will try to get some ‘slug beer’…

*Excerpt from Whitehorse Urban Harvest FB post re: SLUG PARTY

…Now, I collect free beer from a nearby pub. To explain: sometimes beer isn’t completely consumed by customers and returned in the glasses to the bar in due course of cleaning the table. This beer, rather it being emptied into the sink each time, is being collected in a large jug right underneath the serving counter, perfectly suited to be poured into my container. I just ask for SLUG BEER and am known for this request already…

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