Slugs are the most common pests in our gardens, although they are still a vital part of the local environment. Slugs are like the cleanup crews in our gardens, they will eat the dead and the decaying plants extremely fast, however, if the possibility arises for them to feed on something more nutritious like your plants they will start eating them. It only takes a couple of rainy days for the slug to simply wipe out your vegetables and your flowers.
You can get rid of slugs and snails in a lot of different ways, either by repelling them or by killing them. The most effective ways of getting rid of slugs and snails are with garlic spray, slug pellets, nematodes, and ducks. There are other methods of getting rid of them, but not all of them actually work, or they are extremely time-consuming.
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The problem is that a lot of these methods simply do not work, I will be addressing these as well and let you know why they do not work. Timing is extremely important when trying to get rid of slugs and snails, if you try something and it doesn’t work then you will only see your precious vegetables being eaten alive in front of you. No matter if you want to get rid of the slugs and snails with home remedies or with chemicals you should always have a backup plan.
When it comes to getting rid of slugs and snails you have two options, either repel them or simply kill them. My personal recommendation is to both repel and kill them, as there are just a few things that will actually stop a hungry slug or snail from eating your plants. If you want to know what pests hate the smell of garlic then check out my recent article What Does Garlic Repel? ( Top 7 Pests ).
How To Get Rid Of Slugs And Snails
One approach I find helpful is to create physical barriers such as copper tape or crushed eggshells around vulnerable plants. The sharp edges of the copper tape or the abrasive texture of the eggshells deter the slugs and snails from crossing them. Another method I use is handpicking, especially during dusk or dawn when these pests are more active. I simply go out with a flashlight and pick them off plants, placing them in a container filled with soapy water to dispose of them.
Additionally, I create beer traps by burying shallow containers in the ground and filling them with beer. The scent of the beer attracts the slugs and snails, and they drown in the liquid. It’s important to empty and refill the traps regularly. Finally, I encourage natural predators like frogs, toads, and birds to visit my garden by providing suitable habitats such as water sources or bird feeders. By combining these methods, I’ve been able to effectively control slugs and snails in my garden and maintain the health of my plants.
Garlic spray is highly effective against slugs and snails, as they simply hate the smell of garlic. A well-made garlic spray will not kill them but the slugs and snails will stay far away from the areas sprayed with garlic. The ingredient in garlic spray which repels the slugs and snails is allicin, this gives the garlic its nasty smell. If you want to know how to make garlic for slugs then check out my recent article How To Make Garlic Spray ( Extremely Potent ).
Slug pellets simply get the job done, they will easily kill any slugs and snails which has consumed the pellets. For the most part, there are two types of slug pellets, the ones that contain Iron Phosphate and the ones that contain Metaldehyde. The ones containing Iron Phosphate, are considered to be pet friendly and the ones containing Metaldehyde are dangerous to pets, and children as well.
A slug or snail that has died from the Metaldehyde slug pellets will be poisonous to any birds, or pets which will eat them. Both types of slug pellets work extremely well, but the major downside of them is the number of flies you will see around your garden, due to the dead slugs and snails. So make sure to dispose of the dead slugs and snails, before they start decaying in your garden.
Hand-picking is oftentimes the first thing people do when their plants are getting attacked by slugs or snails. Simply go out during the night when the slugs and snails are out and with a flashlight pick them up and place them into a small bucket with water and some dish soap to kill them. Some people will go out with some scissors and cut the slugs and snails in two, which is also effective. This method of getting rid of slugs and snails does work, but it is extremely time-consuming.
Caffeine is actually toxic to slugs, which makes it an excellent slug and snail killer. The trick is to make make a highly concentrated caffeine spray, and not one that has been watered down, the higher the concentration of caffeine in the spray is the more effective it will be against slugs and snails. If you want to know how to make a highly effective caffeine spray then check out my recent article How To Make Caffeine Spray For Slugs ( Fast & Easy ).
A lot of people claim that coffee grounds are an excellent way of getting rid of snails and slugs. The idea behind it is that caffeine is actually toxic to snails and slugs, and once they start eating the coffee grounds they will get poisoned. The truth is that snails and slugs have no reason to eat the coffee grounds, even if they did they would not die as the concentration of caffeine in the coffee grounds is way too small to actually harm them.
Diatomaceous earth is made out of the fossilized remains of diatoms, which were hard-shelled creatures. The particle size of the diatomaceous earth is extremely small and can feel abrasive, this is why slugs and snails do not like it. The small diatomaceous earth particles will simply get through the slime of the slugs and snails and actually hurt them. Place some diatomaceous earth around your plants and the slugs and snails will stay away, this also works if the diatomaceous earth becomes wet due to rain or sprinkling.
Now you are waging biological war against the slugs and snails, nematodes are parasitic and they love slugs and snails. Once a nematode enters a slug or snail it will start altering its behavior and eventually killing it. Nematodes are also excellent against slug and snail eggs as well. The best part about using nematodes against slugs and snails is that the nematodes tend to multiply extremely fast and for the most part they will latch onto the slugs and snails and kill them.
By Using Raised Garden Beds
Raised garden beds are an excellent way of controlling the slug and snail population and keeping your plants safe. Inevitably sooner or later some slugs and snails will end up in the raised garden beds but you will have a lot easier time getting rid of them. For some people, this method of getting rid of slugs and snails works so well that they do not even have to use any pesticides or slug pellets.
We have all seen the videos on YouTube on how effective beer traps are against slugs and snails. Get a small container and fill it with some cheap beer, then just place the container in your garden next to your plants. Ideally, you should place several of these beer traps to be more efficient. The slugs and snails are actually attracted by the yeast fermenting, so you could use some yeast with water and sugar and you will get the same results.
Keep in mind that although a lot of people will say that this is safe for pets, it simply is not. Slugs and snails contain harmful bacteria and parasites which end up in the beer trap, and if your dog or cat drinks the beer they might get sick.
Petroleum jelly or vaseline is effective against slugs and snails, but only for potted plants. Simply rub a thick layer of petroleum jelly around the edge of your pots and the slugs and snails will have an extremely difficult time getting through it as the petroleum jelly is extremely slippery. The best part about using petroleum jelly against slugs is that it is waterproof, so you will only have to apply the jelly once in a while.
Copper strips around your plants will keep some of the slugs and snails away, although the most determined slugs and snails will still go through it. When a slug or snail comes into contact with the copper a small chemical reaction happens, and the slugs and snails really hate it. Simply place the copper strips around your plants, get some thick copper strips if possible. You have to make sure that your plants do not have any other contact point with the ground other than their stem.
Copper strips are a good way of repelling slugs and snails, but for most people, this isn’t a good method, either your garden is way too large or you can simply not place copper strips around all of your plants.
Slugs and snails really do not like electricity, and who can blame them, as their body is mostly made out of water they make an excellent conductor of electricity. For this method, you will need two copper strips placed right next to each other without actually touching each other. Get a small 9V or 12V battery and connect it to the copper strips, the “+” side on one strip and the “-” on another strip. Once the slugs and snails try to cross the barrier and touch both of the copper strips they will get a small electric shock.
This electric shock is not enough to kill them but the slugs and snails will keep away from these areas. This method works only for raised garden beds and potted plants, so if you have plants growing directly in the ground then you need to pick another method.
IMPORTANT! Batteries and water do not mix well, most batteries will catch on fire if they are exposed to water, so if you are using this method then make sure to place the batteries in a small waterproof container.
Salt is deadly to all slugs and snails, once they come into contact with salt they will start to dehydrate extremely fast. Now do not go out into your garden and start throwing salt around, as it will simply not work and you will do more damage to your plants than to the slugs and snails. Salt can easily enter the soil especially once it starts raining, and once the salt is in the ground it will start damaging the roots of your plants, which will start dying after a couple of days.
The idea behind using eggshells against snails and slugs is a relatively old one, supposedly the crushed eggshells are so sharp that slugs and snails will not cross them. The problem is that slugs and snails do not have any problem getting through the egg shells, as slugs and snails can actually cross across razor blades and not be harmed by the blade. The truth is that slugs and snails actually love eggshells as it is a good source of calcium which they need.
People who breed slugs and snails or keep them as pets will often feed them eggshells due to the calcium content. Using eggshells against slugs and snails is extremely ineffective, and in the worst-case scenario, you will actually start feeding the local slugs and snails.
Ducks are an excellent pest control, and the best part about them is that they love eating slugs and snails. If you have a couple of ducks in your vegetable garden then you will not have any problem with slugs or snails. Ducks have been used as pest control in China for ages, usually, they will let the ducks loose on their rice fields for a couple of weeks or months. Chickens are also good for eating slugs and snails, but chickens tend to do a lot of damage to the soil.
You do not need some fancy slug trap in order to get rid of slugs and snails. All you need is a plank of wood, place it on the ground for a couple of days and you will see that slugs and snails will start using it as cover. Pick up the plank of wood from time to time and dispose of the slugs and snails. Ideally, you should place some bait below the plank of wood as well, a beer trap works extremely well for this.
By Growing Garlic
Slugs and snails hate the smell of garlic, above I have mentioned the garlic spray which has an immediate effect, but if you have a relatively large garden then you might want to start growing garlic. If garlic is growing in your garden, the slugs and the snails will keep away from those areas. I personally plant some garlic and also use the garlic spray, and for the most part, I rarely see a slug or snail on my plants.
Frogs are excellent pest control, especially for slugs and snails. In fact, one the favorite meals of frogs are slugs and snails, and the best part about them is that they can eat their own bodyweight of slugs and snails in one night. If you have the space for it, then make a small pond where there is some shelter and permanent water, sooner or later some frogs will appear. This method of slug control takes some time but if you live in a humid area, then you will start seeing frogs in your small pond after a couple of days.
Hedgehogs love eating slugs and snails, a couple of them in your garden will get rid of most of the slugs. I am not saying that you should go out and buy hedgehogs, instead, if you find a couple of them in your garden, then just leave them be. Keep in mind that if you are using toxic slug pellets this could kill the hedgehogs in a couple of days, so if you are having hedgehogs in your garden avoid using the slug pellets.
- Slugs and snails tend to hide in damp and dark areas during the day. To reduce their population, clear away any debris, boards, rocks, or other objects that provide shelter. This will make your garden less inviting to them and discourage their presence.
- A simple yet effective method to control slugs and snails is by handpicking them. Visit your garden during the evening or early morning when these pests are most active. Use gloves and pick them off plants, placing them in a bucket of soapy water or disposing of them far away from your garden. Regularly check your plants and repeat the process to manage their numbers.
- There are several natural deterrents you can use to repel slugs and snails. These include creating barriers with materials like copper tape, crushed eggshells, diatomaceous earth, or coffee grounds around vulnerable plants. You can also sprinkle salt or a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water directly on slugs and snails to deter them. However, be cautious when using salt, as it can harm plants and soil if used excessively.