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How to Trap Slugs, Kill Slugs, and Get Rid of Garden Slugs

Updated on September 13, 2011

Getting Rid of Garden Slugs

Getting rid of slugs from your garden is no easy task, and these guys can do a lot of damage.  They're hard to spot during the day and tend to come out at night when the moisture and dew make it easier for them to move around.  Slugs have been a problem for gardens forever, and there are many different ways to trap, get rid of, or kill these pests before they do too much damage to your garden.  Depending on where you are the variety of slug may differ - you may not have to deal with the tropical banana slug, for example, but if you have a home garden and are growing your own crops, chances are that at some point you will have to deal with these critters.  If you want to learn the various classic ways of dealing with these pests, just read on.  From trapping to prevention to home made slug traps, there are many different ways to learn how to get rid of garden slugs, and so read on if you want to learn more!

Garden Slug Pictures & Banana Slug Pictures

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A couple of garden slugs.A poster of a lot of slugs.A couple of very fat banana slugs.More garden slugs.Two pesky slugs in an "O"
A couple of garden slugs.
A couple of garden slugs.
A poster of a lot of slugs.
A poster of a lot of slugs.
A couple of very fat banana slugs.
A couple of very fat banana slugs.
More garden slugs.
More garden slugs.
Two pesky slugs in an "O"
Two pesky slugs in an "O"

BEER: The Ultimate Slug Poison

Believe it or not, if you have a slug problem in your garden that you want to get rid of, then beer is your friend. Beer is good for more than just tail gating and putting the stress of a long day behind you, but beer is also like a siren's call to slugs. The yeasty smell and flavor are irresistible to slugs, but slugs can't swim. This turns them into lemmings going off a cliff.

There are several ways to use this information in order to deal with slugs. If you don't have to worry about little kids running around or a cat or dog from getting into it, then having a tub that is half full of beer could be enough. That will be enough to attract the slugs into the beer, but if the tub is half full they won't be able to make their way out. This slug trap is a natural and easy way to cause the slugs to drown - most of which will find their way into the trap at night.

There are many other ways to use beer to kill garden slugs. One popular version of the beer slug trap is to use a plastic two liter bottle, cutting the top third off to look like a funnel, then turning it around and attaching it with glue or tape.  Fill it half way with beer and slugs can crawl in, but can't swim out.  An actual funnel and a tin can work just as well if they fit together right.

No matter which way you choose to go, beer remains one of the most popular ways to kill slugs naturally.

So What Exactly Are Slugs?

Slugs are mollusks that generally have a very tiny shell or no shell at all.  Most slugs are generally harmless and really not much of an issue to people, but there are some slugs that tend to be pests to agricultural crops, and these slugs - often generally grouped together as "garden slugs," can do a number on some crops.

These are less of a problem in drier climates, since slugs need moisture to move around, which is also why these creatures are easier to capture or get a hold of at night.  Generally speaking, most slugs are never going to run afoul of people and it's only the ones that go to town on a garden that are going to cause problems.  There are multiple ways to get rid of these guys, and because of that they're not the same level of concern as other garden pests can be like grasshoppers or locusts.

Well I Guess You Could Eat Garden Slugs

The Banana Slug: King of All Garden Slugs?

Probably one of the best known slugs is the banana slug, which is a very large slug that is most commonly known for being yellow or green. The banana slug is actually the second largest slug in the world, and the name is more about the color of the more common slugs, not an actual pigeonhole on location. Banana slugs can be green, brown, or white (although bright yellow is the most common color), and they live on many different continents and not just the tropics. The largest banana slugs can grow up to 30 cm.

Banana slugs are known for being bright yellow and large, and these guys can do a number as a garden pest on a whole range of crops. While not an issue in drier or more arid climates, in wet climates these little guys can thrive.

Aside from beer, which is the siren's call to all slugs to basically come and drown, salt and caffeine can also be used to short circuit these pests and control booming populations into more manageable groups. While these slugs may be continuing to make occasionally appearances in pop culture, a devout gardener isn't going to be very star struck with these garden pests any time soon.

From eating the crops to dragging slime across decorative garden plaques, they're not going to find a lot of fans among gardeners anywhere!

Any Thoughts or Comments on Killing Garden Slugs?

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    • profile image

      Isabel 

      6 years ago

      got a slug problem here at our second home we live near a pond and mom and i just killed 4 slugs by pouring rubbing alcohol to them but i really want them out of our home

    • profile image

      Joseph 

      7 years ago

      Try Slug Shields. I used them last season and they worked. Great thing is that they are 100% eco-friendly and they LAST ALL SEASON without maintenance! I got them online.

      Good luck!

    • profile image

      Slug 

      7 years ago

      I know the beer method works but what is the most humane method?

    • profile image

      The help 

      7 years ago

      i found out that slugs hate copper wire or copper, make several rings of copper wire and fit it nicely so that your plant won't stick out........Another way is coffee grounds slugs hate that but your plants may love it because coffee ground has this kind of nutrient that is good for only acidic kind of plant. Also if u see a slug and u want to kill it......don't drown it because it will come back out so the ideal way is to sprinkle a teaspoon of salt over it, it will slowly burn the slug causing it to die

    • profile image

      green_giant 

      8 years ago

      What a nightmare!! not sure where they come from, but here in England we are out numbered.

      Beer was no good to me, my dog just lapped it up, and it was painful pouring out the good stuff for the enemy! My dog loved pellets too, which was a worry because they are known to kill 'em.

      I have been using this new caffeine spray called Slug Snub, it works like coffee grounds but better. American scientist have discovered caffeine is the active ingredient, and spent coffee has far too little.

      I sprayed it on the plants that kept getting eaten, and sop far they have stayed away. It is natural and organic, and importantly kind to my dog.

      Furthermore it is invisible unlike ugly blue pellets, egg shells or beer traps. Its worked best for me. Try googling Caffeine Slug repellents or "Slug Snub".

      Good luck mate

    • profile image

      Mary 

      9 years ago

      I've found that if you get out into the garden very early in the morning, while the dew is still on the plants, (slugs love water and moisture); you can pick them off, put them into a coffee can or whatever and simply step on them away from your garden. That's what I always did. If I used my hubby's beer, he'd have had a fit. You know the old addage...'the early bird gets the worm'? Well, in this case, it's the slugs. Happy hunting.

    • profile image

      ralwus 

      9 years ago

      I can't use beer. The dogs and racoons love it too. LOL I have also made a yeast and water concoction for them that works, but the dogs and coons again! Wood ash is really great [pot ash] and one just needs to spread it aorund the hostas or garden bed. Works great as long as it soesn't rain, then one must spread it out again. Skunks are a great eater od slugs and I like to watch them scarfing them up at night, but this too has it's problems. I don't like to use slug killers off the market, so I use my hands and wood ash. thanks for a nice hub. I stalked Jama here

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 

      9 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      We lived in a house (briefly!) where slugs were somehow getting inside during the night.  Nobody got up during the night without a flashlight to check for the tell-tale silver trail.  We collected 1-lb coffee cans to collect the slimy buggers, then we'd pour salt into the can and set it in the sun.  Sorry if that sounds gruesome and cruel, but ya only have to step on one barefoot ONCE in the dark to stop thinking of slugs as "cute" or reptilian house pets.  Ewwwwww....

    • Wanderlust profile image

      Wanderlust 

      9 years ago from New York City

      Beer, wow, what a surprise! Sending this hub to a friend of mine, she has a huge slug problem in her garden. Thanks. Beer, who knew? :)

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