Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Slugs In Your Garden
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.
Reasons To Get Rid Of Snails And Slugs
- They’re not pretty. To some, snails and slugs are an eyesore. Their mucus-covered bodies and slime trail are not pleasing to the eye. And this is one of the reasons I keep them out of my home and garden, especially where they collect around the water tank, tap, aquarium, bathroom, and fish pond.
- They damage plants and crops. Apart from being a turn-off, the mollusks are pests. They eat plants, so they can really reduce crop yield and do some damage to ornamentals. They feed mainly on leaves, which means that they can be a real threat in your leafy vegetable garden.
- They can wreak havoc on water features. Snails and slugs near ponds or other water features in your garden can be detrimental in a number ways. First, if the mollusks are parasitic, they can kill the fish. Second, if they are left to reproduce without control, they compete for resources. Third, they can clog the tank, pool, or pond filters and pipework.
- They host parasites. Some of the mollusks are hosts of deadly parasites and microorganisms. For example, the faucet and mud gastropods carry liver flukes. Other gastropods carry parasitic worms that cause bilharzia.
That said, all the gastropods can be controlled in similar ways which can be categorized into organic, natural, and chemical methods. This article is about how to completely get rid of snails and slugs in houses, gardens, potted plants, water tanks, bathrooms, ponds, and fountains.
Snail On A Wet Patio Feature
Begin With Ascertaining If There Are Slugs In Your Garden
There are various ways to handle the bugs from taking control of your plantation. Some tend to work quickly, whereas some need lots of patience and time. However, there are no shortcuts! You need to keep trying to find the best method that helps you. Here are some of the natural techniques to ward off the large and small species.
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Which Baits Work Best On Slugs And Snails
Liquid bait: The most effective baits are beer and iron phosphate. Iron phosphate entices the mollusks and even kills them. Other great options include grape juice or a mixture of yeast and honey or sugar. To use this method, fill a bowl or wide-mouthed jar halfway with bait and place it where the gastropods collect. You can bury the jar a bit to make it easier for them to crawl in. When the pests come out from their hiding places, they will be attracted by the bait, move in, and drown. You can then dispose of the dead pests.
Dry bait: You can also use methiocarb and metaldehyde to control the pests, however these baits can kill domestic animals and other wildlife and can also harm people, so be careful when using them. To use these baits, you only need to sprinkle them in the right places to control the organisms.
Put Out A Tiny Barbed Wire Fence
Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around vulnerable plants and walk away. Its like putting out a bed of microscopic razor blades and shards of glass, so snails and slugs will do their best to steer clear of the stuff.
Use this trick sparingly, though, since it can slice away at good bugs and critters too.
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How Does It Work
Based on the research of horticulturists and avid home gardeners, it has been concluded that slugs and snails detest the smell of coffee. Additionally, caffeine, one of the most active ingredients in coffee, is known to greatly slow these creatures down by increasing their mucous production.
Interested in reducing the presence of snails and slugs in your outdoor space but dont want to harm your plants in the process?
Dont worry, coffee has no effect on the health of plants and doesnt damage the pH balance of the soil in the slightest. As far as snail and slug deterrents go, coffee is one of the most natural and non-toxic options available.
If all you have on hand is instant coffee, it could still help to slow down these pests and deter them from the scent. However, regular coffee is stronger-smelling and has higher caffeine content. Some gardeners have even seen progress from spraying their plants with liquid coffee concentrate.
Before attempting this method, make sure to check local regulations concerning soil, as using coffee grounds in your garden may not be allowed in your area.
What To Do With Dead Slugs
Its gross. there is no way around that. I use rubber gloves and I toss the contents into a large area of our yard that is a tall ground cover. I realize not everyone has that and if I didnt, then Id probably toss in a garbage sack and into the outside garbage can. You could also pour into the dirt in an area that doesnt get traffic and then cover with more dirt. Id love to know what you come up with. Just leave me a comment.
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How Do I Get Rid Of Slugs
The best bet in reducing slug numbers is to get rid of places they like to hide. They like damp, dark places under boards, rocks, garden debris, and flowerpots. In fact, any of these items can be used as lures. Check under them each day and get rid of any slugs you find. Repeat daily until the slugs are gone. Adding some decaying fruit underneath a board in a damp area will also draw in slugs so you can remove them. Wearing rubber gloves, throw the slugs in a plastic bag, seal, and dispose.
Trap Slugs Using Boards
This is one of my favorite tricks for how to get rid of slugs in the garden, especially the vegetable garden. Lay 2×4s between crop rows at dusk and then the following afternoon, when the slugs take shelter beneath them to avoid the sun, flip over the boards and collect the slugs or cut them in half with a sharp scissors. You can also easily trap them underneath inverted watermelon rinds placed throughout the garden.
Get Rid Of The Ones That Are Inside Your House
There is nothing worse than waking up on a beautiful morning, only to find slugs in your house. They look horrible and leave a slime trail everywhere they go. My kids are also frightened of them, and my wife hates them with a passion.
For a long time, I had a problem with these slugs both in my house and in my garden. I tried all the usual off-the-shelf products, including various types of pellets, sprays, and beer traps. Some of them worked for a while, but the slugs returned. My other concern was that I have kids and a dog that could get into poisonous pellets or sprays. I had to be careful using these as well.
The frustrating thing about battling slugs is that you feel you made some progress, but the slugs just come back year after year. I remember going on a real crusade to get rid of them one year by picking them off every time I saw one. The only thing I can say about that is that there are more slugs than I had time to get rid of, both in my garden and just outside my house.
I asked my neighbor if he was having similar problems, and he said that he had been tortured with slugs at one time. He still had the problem but greatly diminished it by putting a bird feeder into the garden. It attracted quite a few wild birds that apparently helped eat the slugs.
The good news is that slugs are not actually that clever, but boy, can they breed quickly! The only appeal your house has for them is darkness and dampness.
How To Get Rid Of Slugs With Beer
Slugs like the smell of beer and will fall in if temptation is put in their path. So an easy and inexpensive way for how to get rid of slugs is to make a beer trap.
Although, experts at Rentokil say, ‘It is worth noting that this home remedy is only effective for a small slug problem. Controlling a large infestation can be quite expensive as the beer needs to be replaced daily.’
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How To Stop Every Slimy Slithering Slug And Keep Them Out
- Use a torch/flashlight in a darkened room to spot the dried trails from last nights invasion then follow them back to any entry points.
- Check for joints, holes and gaps along walls, around doors, pipes, vents and under cabinets.
- Seal gaps using expanding foam for larger gaps or silicone sealant for smaller cracks.
- Pellets in a dish under the fridge wont increase the number of slugs coming in there are already enough delicious smells in your house for any slug to investigate.
- Arm yourself with the supplies below and go forth to conquer the slimy menace!
For larger gaps we highly recommend polyurethane foam in a can. This material expands as it cures and fills up every void with a durable, pest-proof, waterproof barrier. Also seals out the winter wind, noise and pesky rodents. Pay particular attention around any pipes or ducting, joints and spaces around doors or the edges of baseboard trim.
Wear gloves and old clothes when using foam because it will stick to absolutely everything including your hands, hair, clothes, children and passing motorists. But seriously, there is absolutely no better, easier way to fill large gaps than with expanding foam. Put down newspapers or plastic sheeting and carry a rag to catch any foam oozing out of the nozzle. Hardened foam will block the nozzle so its best to use up the can while its fresh.
Choose Plants Slugs Hate
Slugs dont like highly scented plants, so varieties like lavender, rosemary and sage are a good choice, as well as wormwood, rue, fennel, and anise, as recommended by Rentokil’s experts.
In fact, slugs tend to avoid most herbs so thats one area of the garden that’s typically nibble free. Theyre not keen on geraniums and begonias either.
You can find out how to create a herb garden in our expert feature if you want to get planting some strongly scented herbs as soon as possible.
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How Do Slugs Feed And Breed
Slug mouths are lined with tiny, grater-like teeth that shred leaf tissue before digesting it. This type of feeding creates holes with jagged edges, rather than the smooth-edged holes often left behind by leaf-chewing beetles or caterpillars. Slugs move on an excreted mucus trail that serves to both protect their body from desiccation and message other slugs about their presence .
Most slug species are hermaphroditic, which means they have both male and female reproductive parts. Thankfully, slugs arent capable of fertilizing themselves, so they have to find a partner to breed . Slug mating is actually really fascinating leopard slugs in particular. It involves a pair of glowing blue reproductive organs and a nocturnal tryst while hanging mid-air on a thread of slime. And, no, Im not joking.
Each slug is capable of laying hundreds of eggs over the course of its lifetime, though the eggs are laid in clutches of about 30. The eggs are laid in moist soil, under mulch or rocks, or beneath leaf detritus. Theyll sit dormant if the weather is too hot, too dry, or too cold, waiting for just the right moment to hatch. If you live in a rainy region, such as the Pacific Northwest, youre all too aware of why learning how to get rid of slugs in the garden is so important.
Now that you understand a bit more about these garden pests, its time to look at some ways to keep slugs out of the garden naturally.
What Are Slugs And Snails
Slugs and snails are very damaging garden pests that can be found throughout most of the world, most often in temperate, humid climates. Your garden is likely to have more slugs during a particularly rainy season.
Slugs and snails are not insects they are soft-bodied mollusks. Slugs and snails are members of the phylum Mollusca, along with the giant squid, the periwinkle, and the steamer clam. Unlike seagoing mollusks, these landlubbers are equipped with a single lung. The main difference between slugs and snails is that the latter have an obvious shell, which is primarily made up of calcium carbonate.
Slugs and snails are hermaphroditic, with each individual having both male and female reproductive organs. As you would expect, their love life is complex. The common gray garden slug dances an elaborate, hour-long nuptial waltz before mating, while other species perform acrobatic movements while hanging suspended from threads of slime.
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Use Traps To Control The Mollusks
If you’d prefer not to use bait or poison, a trap is a good solution. Common homemade traps for snails and slugs include inverted grapefruit halves, overturned flowerpots, and boards.
- A grapefruit has a scent that attracts the gastropods. When they crawl under the halves, they get trapped inside and die. Some great alternatives for this method are inverted melon or orange rinds and inverted cabbage leaves.
- Overturned flowerpots work the same way: Pests move into the pots when they are tilted. Then, to trap as many pests as possible, you need to leave the flowerpots overnight in the infested area.
- With a board, you need to set the wooden plank on the ground. The mollusks will come to hide under it after their activities at night. You can then lift the board during the daytime to kill them. A good alternative to the board is a black plastic sheet or carpet.
- Other ways: An inverted saucer or any other vessel with lettuce leaves or other bait can also be a good trap. The pests will be attracted by the leaves or food items and get trapped inside.
How To Get Rid Of Slugs With A Compost Trap
Vegetable peelings and kitchen waste are useful when it comes to how to compost, but they can also help you to attract and then dispose of slugs. It’s an easy way to try and keep control of what slugs are eating in your garden. Here’s how to do it:
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How Do I Get Rid Of Slugs In My Garden
Slugs can wreak havoc on your garden. These nocturnal feeders love the tender leaves and petals of new plants. I have woken up many mornings to find my plantings completely destroyed by the slimy creatures.
Unfortunately, getting rid of slugs can be quite difficult. They hide during the day, and unless you want to stand in your back yard in your jammies with a flashlight and pick each of the little buggers off your plants, you may have to try several methods before finally finding a combination that will work.
There are, however, many methods of getting rid of slugs that will assist you in the all-out war against the bane of every gardeners existencethe slug. This article covers eight of these methods:
Choose The Right Plants
Anybody that has tried growing lettuce, or certain strands of Hosta, will know that they have a preference for certain types of plant. Generally, they prefer plants with thin and delicate leaves. This is why lettuce is such an attractive proposition for them. And, while it is true that some Hostas act as a magnet to slugs and snails, there are some variants that are more resistant than others. Blue Ivy, for example, has thick and waxy leaves, and slugs are unable to efficiently chew through.
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Use Wool To Control Slugs
If you want to know how to get rid of slugs in the garden, you shouldnt ignore the power of wool. Its been discovered that slugs are just as bothered by itchy, rough wool as humans are. They dont like climbing over the coarse texture. Slug Gone pellets are made from natural wool thats been compressed and formed into pellets. The pellets are spread around the base of susceptible plants and then watered. The pellets quickly expand, forming a thick mat of wool that slugs refuse to climb over. It lasts for a very long time and can even help suppress weeds.
Get Rid Of Slugs With Eggshells And Coffee Grounds
Serve your slugs their last breakfast. Collect eggshells and coffee grounds. Crush the eggshells, and then scatter the eggshells and coffee grounds around the area you want to protect from slugs. The coffee grounds are a natural pesticide against slugs, and crushed eggshells will cut up the undersides of any slug trying to go over it. The added benefit of this method is that both eggshells and coffee grounds are a great natural fertilizer for your garden.
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