How to Get Rid of Slugs

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Slugs can cause a lot of problems for gardening enthusiasts as they can ruin precious plants, fruits and vegetables. Learn how to get rid of slugs in your garden.

two slugs crawling on lettuce.

Though slugs and snails look harmless, they have a large appetite and tend to eat most plants in your garden.

Slugs can gobble up all the seedlings you carefully planted in your garden within minutes and destroy all of your favorite plants in just a few days.

Disgusting fact alert – did you know slugs can mate with themselves and produce around 36 eggs several times throughout the year?  Slugs have a lifespan of 2 to 6 years.

They reach adulthood in 5 to 6 weeks, and some of them reach a length of 10 inches!

Are you as grossed out as I am?  I am not a fan of slugs.

We once rented a house that had a slug infestation.  I never realized so many slugs liked to come indoors.

One super early morning (maybe 4AM), while I was waiting for my child’s advice nurse to call me back, I wandered into the kitchen to get some water.

There was a slug party happening on my kitchen floor.

Oh, man was I totally grossed out.  There were about 5 slugs on the ground, moving around.  I couldn’t believe it.  I hadn’t seen them in our house before.

Then, when my husband wouldn’t believe me, but I was seeing slug slime everywhere in my kitchen, I had my husband pull out the stove and the floor was covered in slug slime.  It was so disgusting.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the last time we saw the slugs and as my husband did some work in the walls of the house, it appeared like that is where they were living.  Fortunately, we moved shortly after this.

While I don’t like slugs in my house, I don’t like them in my garden either.

Here are some natural and easy ways to get rid of slugs.

Though getting rid of slugs is a time-consuming process, here are some methods that use items usually already in your home so that you don’t have to waste time and can start right away.

Natural Ways to Get Rid of Slugs

Create a Beer Trap

Slug going into a cup of beer.

A beer trap is a popular natural method used to get rid of slugs.

Slugs love the smell of beer and can’t resist it. A bottle of beer can act as good bait for collecting slugs.

If you are using this method, just know that the more slugs you have, the more beer you will need.  You will also need a plastic cup.

Dig a small hole in your garden, put the plastic disposable cup inside the hole and fill it half or ¾ with beer. The slugs move into the cup, but can’t get back out.  After you have some slugs in your cup, you can remove it and throw away the dead slugs.

If you still have slugs left over, fill another cup and put it in the garden to catch more slugs.

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Put Cornmeal in a Jar

cornmeal spilling out a sideways jar.

Slugs also love eating cornmeal, but cornmeal and slugs don’t mix.  Slugs die after eating it.

Cornmeal is a cheaper trap compared to beer, but it’s hard to get all the slugs with cornmeal if you have a large infestation.

In order to use this method you want to take a jar, add a couple tablespoons of cornmeal inside and then lay the jar down (on it’s side) without the lid.

Place the jar in the area where there are a lot of slugs.

The slugs will automatically be drawn toward the jar of cornmeal.  After the slug eats the cornmeal, the cornmeal expands inside the slug and it will die.

You can use this jar of cornmeal each evening and remove the dead slugs every morning.

Add Coffee Grounds to the Soil

Coffee grounds being spooned into a flower pot.

You can add some coffee ground to the soil around your plants.  This will help deter the slugs from getting to your plants.

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Create a Sharp and Prickly Barrier

Egg shells around a seedling.

You can create a barrier made up of sharp and prickly things to keep slugs away from your plants.

Slugs are slimy and soft, which makes it difficult or impossible for them to cross a sharp barrier. Also, slugs won’t try crossing anything sharp.

You can use thorny cuttings, pine needles, or even crushed eggshells to make a prickly barrier. Using empty eggshells might be the easiest way if you use eggs a lot in your kitchen.

Use small pieces of eggshells and put them next to plants, fruits, and vegetables to keep them safe.

Another benefit of using eggshells is they will also enrich the soil with the calcium inside them.

Use Copper Tape as a Repellent

Copper tape being applied to raised bed.

Copper tape is another good remedy to keep slugs away from your garden.

When slugs secrete mucus, it reacts with the copper metal and gives a small electric shock to the slugs.

To use it as a repellent, place the copper tape around your plants and it’ll protect them from slugs.

With so much dirt in your garden, you need to make sure the copper tape stays clean.  You can clean the copper tape with vinegar and that will help it from tarnishing.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth coming off a trowel into some plants.

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a popular method to kill slugs and snails since it is so effective.

DE is actually a powder that contains the skeletal remains of microscopic beings and is quite sharp. The powder has microscopic edges that can cut through the bodies of slugs and snails.

This jagged and sharp property of DE can pierce the soft and slimy bodies of slugs, which then causes them to be dehydrated. You can also mix this powder with water and spray on the slugs to kill them.

Do you have a favorite natural way of dealing with slugs that isn’t on this list?  I’d love for you to share in the comments below.

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Several slugs climbing on lettuce with the words "Get rid of slugs naturally" overlaid.

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  1. I use the cornmeal for the slugs, but I sprinkle it on the ground every couple of days creating a barrier between my plants and the places where the slugs hide.

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