How to Kill Slugs in Your Garden (and Keep Them Out)


Slugs feast on plant material and thrive in locations such as gardens. The soft-bodied mollusks leave behind a slime trail as they destroy plants. If you do not remove slugs and prevent them from entering the garden, they will continue to destroy the plants and ruin your garden. Slugs can spread diseases to plants as well. Slugs are found in many different colors and sizes, but they all are controlled using the same methods.

Things You'll Need

  • Bucket
  • Soapy water
  • Gloves
  • Tongs
  • Coffee grounds
  • Crushed eggshells
  • Diatomaceous earth
  • Fresh beer
  • Garden rake
  • Copper barrier
  • Pick the slugs out of your garden and place them into a bucket of soapy water. Wear gloves to protect your hands from the slime or remove them with tongs if you are squeamish. Remove the slugs at night or early in the morning when they are most prominent.

  • Create a barrier around your garden to prevent the slugs from entering. Scatter coffee grounds, crushed eggshells or diatomaceous earth around the garden bed. Slugs do not like the texture, and if they crawl over the rough surface, it will cut their skin and cause them to dehydrate.

  • Remove hiding places in your garden. Rocks, debris, wood and weeds are all locations where the slugs may hide. Slugs prefer these moist and shady locations to hide during the day so that they can feast on the plant material at night.

  • Fill a small container with fresh beer. Insert the container into the ground so that it sits 1 inch or less above the soil level. The slugs will crawl into the fresh beer and drown. Replace the beer daily until you eliminate the slugs.

  • Water the garden only when the soil dries slightly. Water the garden in the morning to allow the soil to dry in the evening.

  • Remove leaves and debris from your garden with a rake. Slugs may lay their eggs in the debris, which will cause them to continue to invade your garden.

  • Place a copper barrier around the garden to keep slugs out of it. The University of California suggests erecting a vertical copper screen 4 inches tall and burying 2 inches of it below the soil surface. The copper will shock their nervous system.

Tips & Warnings

  • Purchase commercial slug baits from your local home and garden store if you have difficulty removing the slugs from your garden.
  • Avoid pouring salt in the garden to kill the slugs because the salt will damage the soil.

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