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Snail and Slug Control

Updated on May 26, 2013

Organic Snail and Slug Control

Most gardeners know the joy of seeing fresh, new seedlings starting in their garden and also the disappointment of returning the next day only to find the new plant chomped all the way down to the roots. This is often the devastating work of slugs or snails.

This page will explore different types of snail and slug control. I have designed this page for readers to share information. If you have had experience with a particular method of snail or slug control, please tick the box next to the best answer. In this way, we should be able to determine the best way to get rid of slugs and snails.

If you haven't tried a particular slug control and would like to give it a go, make sure you come back here afterwards to share your success or otherwise with us! And if you have come across a successful, natural way to get rid of snails or slugs in the garden that I haven't mentioned here, please let me know in the guestbook at the end of this page.

Bear in mind that slugs and snails can be fussy eaters so different methods may work for different slimy pests.

Snail photo credit

Snail and Slug Traps

Kill slugs with a beer trap - Make a slug catcher

This slug trap is designed to lure snails and slugs into the beer where they will drown. It is best to place one trap every 16 square feet or so. To avoid drowning beneficial ground beetles, make sure the top of your container is not flush with the ground but raise it up 1 inch or so. If rain is expected, rest something loosely on the top of your container to prevent the rain from diluting the beer, while still allowing snails or slugs to crawl in.

Vote: Do beer traps get rid of slugs and snails?

Have you used beer traps to successfully capture snails or slugs?

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slimy slug
slimy slug

More slug and snail traps

Alternatives to beer:

1) Yeast mixture: a mixture of 1 cup water + 1 teaspoon flour + 1 teaspoon sugar + 1/2 teaspoon dry yeast

2) Milk

3) Vegemite mixture: vegemite, marmite or promite mixed with boiling water

4) Bran: a large container filled with water and covered with a thick layer of bran

If you have tried any of these methods for getting rid of snails or slugs, please vote for the most effective trap.

Vote: Which is the best trap for getting rid of slugs and snails?

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Snail and Slug Barriers

Control slugs with 9-volt electric 'fence'

Vote: Are electric fences effective for controlling slugs and snails?

Have you used an electric fence to successfully deter snails or slugs?

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Vote: Other snail and slug repellents

These repellents can be used around the entire garden bed, but some may be more effective as barriers around individual plants. These should not just be used as a ring barrier around a plant since slugs can travel underground and come up inside the ring. Instead fill in a circle all around the plant right up to the stem. Caution: some of these substances (e.g. lawn lime and wood ash) are quite alkaline. So it would be best not to use them around acid-loving plants or if your soil is already alkaline.

If you have tried one of these methods and found it successful, vote for that method by clicking the circle next to it then clicking the vote button. If you have used more than one method that was successful, vote for the most successful.

What forms the best barrier against slugs and snails?

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Handpicking Slugs and Snails

Collect snails and slugs

Collecting slugs or snails during or after rain, early in the morning or at night with a torch is a free slug control method. They are often found sheltering in hidey holes and under mulch. You may like to leave a length of polypipe in the garden to entice them to shelter there. Or perhaps a plank of wood or folded newspaper soaked in a sugar solution. These will make it easier to find the slugs when you are on your collecting expedition.

This video also describes how to get rid of the slugs and snails after you have collected them.

Vote: Is hand picking slugs and snails effective?

How effective have you found handpicking slugs and snails to be?

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Slug and Snail Predators

What eats slugs?

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You may want to encourage large lizards, birds and frogs to visit your garden as these may eat your slugs and snails. Building a pond may attract frogs and toads to your garden. One gardener, on this forum, put out loads of bird seed which attracted the birds and cut down on the slug damage.

Owning ducks and chooks can be an effective method for controlling slugs and snails, especially if they have been trained to incorporate these slimy additions in their diet from ducklinghood or chickenhood.

Vote: Most effective snail and slug predator

Which animal have you found to be the most effective snail and slug predator?

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Slug and Snail Habitats

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Changing the slugs' and snails' habitat

Slugs and snails seem to favor certain plants or certain conditions over others. Because these slimy creatures are most active at night and prefer moist conditions, you could try watering your garden in the morning so that the soil's surface has a chance to dry out during the day. Read this experiment for some interesting information about watering times.

You could try drip irrigation so that only your plants get watered and not all the surrounding soil.

You could try getting rid of all favorable hiding places - debris, weeds, large stones, planks of wood etc. especially in dark, damp places. In areas with a severe slug problem, you may wish to remove the mulch.

You may also find that you can plant slug "decoys". If you are growing chrysanthemums and find that slugs prefer lettuces, you could plant some sacrificial lettuces amongst your chrysanthemums and collect the pesky vermin from these.

Vote: Get rid of slugs by changing conditions in your garden

Which tactic have you found most successful

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Chemical Snail and Slug Control

Organic slug control

Choose pellets which have iron phosphate as the active ingredient. You could place small piles inside a plastic container with the lid taped on (such as a margarine container) with a hole cut in the side to allow access for slugs and snails. This will minimize the risk to pets, children and other wildlife.

Monterey LG6500 Sluggo Slug & Snail Killer 2.5 Pound
Monterey LG6500 Sluggo Slug & Snail Killer 2.5 Pound

The product description of this product claims that it can be used around domestic animals and wildlife.

 

Vote: What have you found to be the best way to get rid of slugs and snails

Click on your all time favorite organic method for controlling slugs and snails in your garden.

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Can you suggest any other organic methods of snail and slug control?

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    • DeboraR profile image

      DeboraR 4 years ago

      We use table salt and it melts them. They like to crawl up the sides of our house at night, nasty! They like to eat our tomatoes. I've not noticed them eating anything else.

    • profile image

      homerepellent 5 years ago

      This is a great lens and pretty interesting read, especially how slugs are attracted to beer.

      Cheers!

    • Franksterk profile image

      Frankie Kangas 6 years ago from California

      Thanks for sharing ideas to get rid of slug and snails. Beer and lizards have worked best for me, however, I haven't tried most of the ones you list. Bear hugs, Frankster

    • kingsrookie lm profile image

      kingsrookie lm 6 years ago

      I find that coffee grounds works wonders with slugs as well as a few other pests. I tried beer but being the guy that I am, I don't want to share :) https://hubpages.com/living/slugs-in-garden-

    • phoenix arizona f profile image

      phoenix arizona f 6 years ago

      These slugs don't stand a chance against anyone loaded up with weapons from this article.

    • profile image

      newholistic 6 years ago

      Thanks for the helpful page - I haven't seen so much info on getting rid of slugs, all in one place before! I've tried a couple of different things, but I had dozens of really tiny slugs that were really hard to find (and hard to trap). The only thing I have found that worked on them was Sluggo - it's approved for organic gardening, and it works like a charm - I love the stuff! Haven't had a slug problem since I started using it.

    • profile image

      purpleslug 6 years ago

      Kinda funny that the "Purple Slug Glass Art LLC" would be wanting to get rid of our slugs, but living in the pacific northwest, we have MANY slugs. Thanks for all the ideas. I'm going to try the beer method.

    • profile image

      SofiaMann 6 years ago

      Thanks for the great ideas. Fantastic lens.

    • desilegend profile image

      desilegend 6 years ago

      Very good lens.. Those slugs destroyed all my secret garden. I really dislike them.

    • profile image

      centepedecontrol 7 years ago

      What a new use for Beer, I would have never thought of that! Crazy

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Use the Slug Bell www.slugbell.com

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      I've learned to accept the blasted snails now and tell myself constantly that they have as much right to exist as I have. (Although I have thrown quite a few in the wheelie bin)

    • Twmarsh profile image

      Twmarsh 7 years ago

      Great tips here. I have used the yeast mixure before, it did help some. I may try some of the other methods you have listed. Thanks, thumbs up!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      They love young plants. But if plants get off to a good start, they are less likely to attack healthy strong plants.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      prevention - surround plants with coffee grounds

    • DeboraR profile image

      DeboraR 7 years ago

      Very good lens on those pesky slugs! We have them around our house. I've done a lens on them too. Will lensroll your lens to mine.