Slugs can be one of the most annoying garden pests. If left uncontrolled, they can completely annihilate a healthy garden.
If you notice lots of small holes in the leaves of your plants, you likely have a slug issue. No worries though, you can get rid of them using simple household items, some of which you likely have on hand.
For some reason, slugs aren’t very good at knowing what they can’t eat. They absolutely love cornmeal, but shortly after eating it they die.
You can make a homemade slug trap by placing a couple tablespoons of cornmeal inside a glass jar. In the evening, lay the jar down sideways in a slug infested area and they will be drawn to it.
Come back in the morning and you will find a bunch of dead slugs lying in and around the jar. Keep at it every night until your garden is slug-free.
Beer is another thing that slugs love, but can’t handle.
Dig a hole in your garden bed that is just deep enough to put a disposable plastic cup in. Fill the cup up about ¾ of the way with beer and they’ll jump right in.
When you come back in the morning, remove the dead slugs. Refill your cup with beer whenever it starts getting low and pretty soon they’ll all be gone.
If you have a serious slug infestation, you can make a larger trap as shown in the image above.
3. Coffee & Egg Shells
Instead of throwing your used coffee grounds and egg shells in the compost pile, mix them together to create a powerful slug repellent. Sprinkle this mix around your plants and the slugs won’t go anywhere near them.
The egg shells cut their bellies, and they won’t crawl across them. The smell of the coffee is a natural repellent, and you’ll be able to watch slugs make a U-turn as they get close to it. As an added benefit, both ingredients will decompose and feed the plants they are protecting.
You can also find some great, all-natural, caffeine based slug repellents at your local garden store, but why bother when you get the same effect using something you already have on hand.
Sprinkling some sand from the playground or beach around your plants creates a barrier the same way the eggshells do. You can get the same effect from any small, sharp fragments of stone.
Sprinkle a generous amount around young plants early in the spring. It will help keep moisture in your soil and slugs away from your plants
You can mix up an effective slug-killer/deterrent with a little bit of household ammonia and water.
For this solution, the weaker the better – use no more than 1 part ammonia to 6 parts water- or it will kill the slugs and the plants too.
Spraying ammonia directly on the slugs will make them shrivel up and die, and the smell left behind (even if you can’t smell it) will keep his friends away from that area for quite a while.
6. Trash Bags
Another simple slug trap can be made using a trash bag and water. In the evening, lay the trash bag down in your garden bed and put a few cups of water inside. Attracted to the moisture, the slugs will crawl inside the bag and be waiting for you in the morning.
This method doesn’t kill them, so you’ll have to find something to do with the ones you’ve collected. You and either set them free in another natural habitat or dispose of them however you like.
7. Natural Predators
You can also leave the killing of the slugs to other critters, by importing or attracting their natural predators.
Nematodes, frogs, salamanders, newts, toads and hedgehogs all love to eat slugs. Several types of birds will also eat up your slugs, but might eat your plants as well.
If you have ducks or chickens, they can do some supervised slug control in the evenings, or you can set out seed to attract thrushes, blackbirds or redwings.
If all else has failed, put some copper tubing, flashing or thin gauge copper tape around your plants or the entire garden bed. This is definitely the most expensive of the methods provided, but it never fails.
Slugs will not cross the copper line, because it acts like an electric fence. The copper has a natural reaction to the slime that they are covered in and they get shocked whenever they try to cross.
The only problem with this method is that any slugs inside your garden bed won’t be able to get out.
If you’re applying the copper method, use either a beer or cornmeal trap as well to get rid of all of them.