How To Get Rid Of Slugs and Earwigs With Beer

Learning how to get rid of slugs and get rid of earwigs at the same time is easy. Earwigs and slugs are two of the most common garden pests. They can go unnoticeable in small amounts, but when there are a lot of them they can ruin an entire garden. Slugs may be cute and fun to play with, but they can cause serious damage in the garden. They normally munch on broad leaf vegetables like eggplant, zucchini, kale, chard, and cucumber.

Getting rid of earwigs and slugs is very easy. And if you enjoy beer, this is a great reason to knock a few back! Just grab a twelve pack and tell your wife that you invited all of your drinking buddies over to help with the yardwork.

Both of these pests are attracted to sugar and yeast, so this method takes care of both. In my own experience, every time there is an earwig problem, slugs are there too (and vice versa).

There are certainly other natural and green pesticides, but this has to be the most fun. I probably should add to drink responsibly. The beer is to kill slugs and earwigs, not your liver! Anyway, it's time to have a few beers and learn how to get rid of slugs and get rid of earwigs at the same time!

Damage From Earwigs and Slugs

This picture shows damage to one of my eggplant bushes done by earwigs and slugs.  If left alone this plant will die in a matter of weeks.
This picture shows damage to one of my eggplant bushes done by earwigs and slugs. If left alone this plant will die in a matter of weeks.

How Do You Know If It's Earwigs?

Take a look at the picture above. This type of damage is typical for earwigs and slugs. Smaller slugs eat the outer parts of the leaf, while the earwigs go to town on the rest.

If you are still unsure, sneak out to the garden in the very early morning (between 2AM and 4AM) with a flashlight to see what's eating your plants. If you are unable to decipher what they are, take a picture and look it up.

Another way to tell is if you have some plants that have hardier leaves and cannot be eaten by slugs, you'll see slimy looking lines across the leaf.

So What's The Trick?

The trick is very easy and cheap. Buy a 12 pack of your favorite soda or beer (it HAS to be in cans) and drink 2/3 of each one. Dig a hole roughly the size of the can and bury it in the garden wherever there are broad leaf plants. Level the dirt around the top (see photo). Use one can per two plants if there is a major infestation or one can per four plants for a minor one.

Get rid of slugs and get rid of earwigs with the cans because the bugs will be lured in by the sugar or yeast. They fall into the liquid, get trapped and drown. This certainly isn't a prevention method, but it will help if damage is already done.

This could certainly be considered an organic pesticide if you drink organic beer! Even if it isn't organic it's certainly safer than most pesticides on the market. No need to worry about your dogs or kids being around while you're applying it!

TIP: If beer is your weapon of choice, I recommend digging the holes before you start drinking. If not, you'll have a patio full of half drank beer cans to contend with in the morning.

When watering your plants, remove the cans from the ground and be careful not to flood the holes that they go in.

The cans should be emptied as needed, every couple of days depending on the population you're dealing with.

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Comments 19 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

Ha! Smart! We have used beer in shallow dishes and it definitely works for a snail or slug infestation. Never thought of burying the cans.

MsFran profile image

MsFran 7 years ago from Here and There, Everywhere

I always spray my bugs with detergent and this kills them but those earwigs are mighty tough. I just love the idea of burying the cans - something we will give a go this weekend.

zinger4 7 years ago

I will try this. I hope this works. We have problems with our swiming trunks on the table out side. The earwigs are a pain in my but!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

zinger4 7 years ago

I will try this. I hope this works. We have problems with our swimming trunks on the table out side. The earwigs are a pain in my but!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

sharongail 7 years ago

Omg, too funny. My problem though was in my house, for some reason. I had those scary looking earwigs in my basement. I killed them as I saw them, but for at least a month or two, kept seeing them. I read on the internet that they love moisture and will stay between papers, well hello, I have a lot of papers in my office, yuk, they were everywhere. I sprayed a inside outside poison and waited another week and did it again and haven't seen any since. Wish I had known about the soda/beer thing, though.

Reed Talonario profile image

Reed Talonario 7 years ago

We had one bad year with slugs. I did the salt trick on one them and it actually shrieked (or maybe that was my conscience). Not for the faint of heart. I'll try letting them drink themselves to death instead. Thanks for the tips.

Litany Notch profile image

Litany Notch 7 years ago from South UK

I will be trying this tomorrow - I have tried salt and eggshells but the slugs keep coming and they have already eaten half of the plants, even the hot chillis! I don't want to use poison as I worry about the wild birds.

Raven 7 years ago

I picked a few dozen earwigs off my arugula and other plants with tweezers at 10pm, and dropped in them in a glass of water. You should see how they swim, and some can get out. The only solutions was to flush them down the john. They are tough cookies! Cathing them can be hard, if they see you, they will drop off of the plant and run into the soil. Best to grab them by their pinchers with tweezers, I found this to got more results.

Stanley Brown 7 years ago

It appears that earwigs are a problem that's here to stay ! I tried a method that I learned in England (yes, earwigs are not just Canadian). Loosely fill a plant pot with rolled up bits of newspaper, making a sort of nest. Upend this on a stick about 12 or 18 inches long and stick it in the ground. Leave for say a week. At the expiration of this time the pot should be loaded with earwigs..... You know what to do with it !

Shawn Pope 7 years ago

You want to get rid of earwigs in your home safe and effectively, you have to start in the spring before you see them in your house. They seem to colonize around my foundation wall in the grass and thatch. If you pull some of the grass and roots away from the foundation you may see some earwigs. Buy some Palmolive soap and mix it in a pail the same concentration as if you were to tackle your dirty dishes and drench this solution around your foundation and watch those discusting little creatures crawl out and within 30-60 seconds they will die. After battling these things for a few years it's great to watch them die, try it it works! and only costs $1.89

pigfish profile image

pigfish 6 years ago from Southwest Ohio

I did not know that beer worked for earwigs! I knew it worked for slugs. I will enjoy a cold one (in a can) when I am taking a gardening break and share it with the pests.

Butterfly Lady profile image

Butterfly Lady 6 years ago from Broken Arrow, OK

Bury the can...hmm. Sounds good to get rid of slugs and earwicks and the drinkers will never know where their beer went. ha

ohi 6 years ago

so palmolive soap ha?

alison forde 6 years ago

i put a small amount of straw in a pot and the earwigs went in to it loads of them and then flush down loo or burn

Hiya 6 years ago

This is awesome. I bought chemical spray and doesn't really work. I will definitely try this. thanks

bernicejones2008 6 years ago


SallyO 6 years ago

Have used beer on slugs - especially around strawberries - but didn't know earwigs (which we have lots eating hostas) were also lushes! thanks for the tip.

shelley 3 years ago

want yo try

Mike socal 4 months ago

I have a handy bottle of lysol with bleach , and when I see one of those filthy godforsaken beast , I zap them 2 times and they take there final 3 second crawl then they get shrouded in charmen. Toilet paper , then they get flushed into the abyss in the sewage pipes of thousand oaks california

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