Ugh! Slugs!

We’ve been fortunate to only have a few slugs and snails in the garden so far this year. But we were talking to a friend whose garden has been plagued with them. If your has too, then you know the damage they can do.


The good news is that there are simple everyday items from the kitchen you can use to help keep slugs and snails from damaging your garden. Our cross referencing of these home based remedies shows a wide range of effectiveness. We recommend applying several strategies at once that, collectively, should reduce the population.  Whatever works–works!


From Your Kitchen

Excerpted from article by Phil Nauta, the Smiling Gardener at

There are several foods commonly listed for how to get rid of slugs and snails. Some work better than others:

  • Corn meal or bran. Slugs and snails love corn meal, but unfortunately for them, it also kills them. Put some in a jar and lay the jar on its side so the molluscs can get in. They’ll eat some, leave, and die. This works okay with bran too.
  • Egg shells. Some people have success with this, but it often doesn’t work. Besides, do you have enough egg shells to protect your whole garden?
  • Coffee. Fresh coffee grounds, used coffee grounds, cold coffee – all of these have worked for some people, but don’t work very well for most people. I haven’t found any controlled studies where it worked particularly well either. If you have access to a lot of fresh grounds, and if your soil is low in nitrogen, you can try it – but it’s definitely not proven to be the most effective method in this list. However, if you have coffee grounds, or access to a local coffee shop that provides these, such as Starbuck’s garden program, it’s free to try it.


These traps work well, but you need to have them fairly regularly throughout the garden, and they need to be replenished often, so they make the most sense in small gardens.

  • Beer. This is a common strategy for how to get rid of snails and slugs and it works [to an extent]. Beer attracts them, so put some into a deep plastic container and bury it in the soil so the top comes up about halfway above the soil (at that height, the slugs will crawl in and die, but many beneficial insects won’t). It’s kind of gross, but it works. Unfortunately, it may still attract some beneficials, too, and you need a trap every 10 square feet or so, so it’s most feasible in a small garden.Editor’s Note: A survey of the outcomes shows the beer trap method to be “moderately effective”. 1) For best results:
    • Place beer less than halfway down the cup so bigger slugs can crawl back out
    • Try a beer bottle with liquid half full. The slugs shouldn’t be able to escape.
    • Try a plastic container or cup with a lid with a hole punched in big enough for the slug to get in but not able to get out.
  • Homemade. It’s the yeast that attracts them in beer, so instead of precious beer, you can use a mixture of 1 tsp flour, 1 tsp brewer’s/instant yeast, 1 tsp sugar or honey and 1 cup warm water. The measurements don’t actually matter too much. Some people put 1 tsp of salt in, too.
  • Nettle tea. Are you lucky/unlucky enough to have nettle on your property? Although it stings like crazy when you touch it, I’d love to have a ‘nettle problem’ in my yard. It’s a highly medicinal plant for humans and for the garden. And if you put some nettle in water just like we did with the beer above, slugs and snails will gravitate to it like me to chocolate cake.2)

You can see the complete article on

Off the Shelf

To minimize adverse side effects, we found the Sluggo (OMRI-listed) pellets containing iron phosphate, the least offensive. It certainly has proven effective but we’ve used it with restraint. The key source we’ve tapped for this article notes that there have been some cases of dogs being poisoned. So best apply where pets and kids cannot freely access.

In case you didn’t see the fascinating time lapse video of slugs going to the beer “bar” in this video on, you may enjoy it, and you’ll see why we think beer works, BUT… you have to be sure they can’t just belly up to the bar and sip from the edge or crawl back out!

For more garden pest solutions, you may enjoy there’s more.4)Earwigs in the Garden and How to Get Rid of Pincher Bugs Using Natural Pest Control5)Organic Pest Control Solutions for Garden Pests6)Natural Pest Control for Garden Pests

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