How to Get Rid of Slugs - the Easy Way
Get Rid of Slugs From Your Garden
Slugs are cool most of the time, they're neat to watch and they serve important roles in the environment. But the little delinquents insist on eating my plants!
So how do I get rid of these munching mollusks in an easy and environmentally friendly way? Simple...give 'em a beer! It's the best way I've found to get rid of slugs.
The Damage Slugs Do
Slugs like to eat plant leaves. This is good for the environment if the leaves are already dead...not so good when they're on live plants in your garden.
The hungry hooligans in our yard love my wife's petunias. Every year they treat those flowers like the dessert bar at Old Country Buffet and pig out.
In the picture below you can see where the edges of the leaves have been munched and holes eaten in the middle. If the leaves on your plants look like this, you probably have slugs in your garden.
Step 1: Equipment
You'll need two items for this job:
1. A shallow bowl about 1"-2" deep. Old tuna fish cans work well, too.
What Beer Should I Serve the Slugs?
You can use any beer but according to a Colorado State University study, the brand of beer you use does make a difference. Of the 12 beers they tested, Kingsbury Malt Beverage (a non-alcoholic brew) and Budweiser were found to be most attractive to slugs.
I proudly serve my slugs Yuengling. Why? This will be the slugs' last drink and they should have something good. Besides, it's what I usually drink. I refuse to spend money on a beer I don't like just because some scientist says to. Yuengling wasn't even one of their test beers.
Step 2: Set Up Your Bar
Position the bowl on the ground amongst the plants that are being eaten. Press the bowl down and twist it a little so that it sits level in the ground.
If possible, get some of the plant leaves to hang over top of the bowl. This gives the bar that tropical feel slugs really dig.
Plan to open your slug bar in the early evening before the slugs become active. I set this one up around 7pm.
Step 3: Start Pouring
Pop open your beer and pour some into the bowl. I usually fill the bowl halfway. Make sure you get at least 1/2" to 3/4" of beer in the bowl. That will be enough to fully cover and drown the slugs.
Above you'll see the bar I set up with a nice frothy head on it.
Step 4: Enjoy the Rest of Your Beer
You'll still have plenty of beer left and the night is young. Kick back, relax and toast your new drinking buddies!
Step 5: Check Your Bar the Next Morning
Did the slugs have a good time?
Yup. I checked the bar at 8am the next morning and found 22 drunken slugs. There was 1 big guy, 5 medium size and 16 little ones.
That's 22 fewer pests eating my plants every night. Not bad for a couple minutes' effort.
The Morning After
What to Do With the Slugs Afterwards
Like any container of left over beer, your bowl is going to smell the next day. You might be tempted to reuse that beer and leave your bowl out another night to attract more slugs. It's best to clean up and use fresh beer instead.
Here are a few suggestions for what to do with all those dead drunk slugs...
- Slugs are full of protein. Toss your slugs and beer into a blender, throw in some ice cubes, fresh fruit and yogurt. Blend thoroughly and you'll have a slug smoothie! On second thought...slugs can also be full of pesticide residue and parasites (like rat lungworm disease) so you better skip this one.
- Add the mix to your compost pile and let those slugs enrich your garden instead of eating it.
- Dump them out in the woods or trash...anywhere that drunken slug smell won't bother you.
A Bar Needs Music...
Here are a few tunes to give your slug bar a fun atmosphere.
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Please share your thoughts on slugs in the comments below. How do you get rid of slugs and other pests in your garden? Have you tried this method or do you think it's just a waste of good beer?