Slugs can be a big problem for any garden lover. Those countless hours spent maintaining your backyard, and planting fruit and vegetables can often be ruined by these creatures.
Getting rid of slugs is often a time-consuming, difficult task for garden lovers. Although the most effective solution is to use slug pellets to rid your garden of these slimy pests, this removal method is not to everyone’s taste.
How to get rid of slugs and snails
Fortunately, there are a range of home remedies and natural solutions to help with a slug problem in your garden.
It’s important to note that home remedies aren’t a guaranteed fix for your slug problem, but they can help reduce their presence in your backyard.
1. Beer trap
There’s nothing better than enjoying a cold beer after a long day at work, and slugs seem to enjoy it too.
It is believed that slugs can’t resist the smell of beer, making it the ideal bait for a trap.
What you need: A plastic cup and a bottle of beer.
How it works: Half bury the cup in the soil close to your plants and half fill it with beer. Tempted by the smell of beer, the slugs will fall into the cup.
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.
2. Copper tape
The use of copper is also believed to be a good remedy for slugs. Copper is considered to be a natural slug repellent as the mucus they secrete from their body (their slime) reacts with the metal, producing a tiny electric shock.
What you need: self-adhesive copper tape (available from DIY shops).
How it works: Place copper tape around the rim of your plant pots to act as a deterrent for slugs.
Note: For copper tape to remain effective against slugs then it needs to be cleaned regularly with vinegar to avoid tarnishing.
3. Egg shells
Crushed egg shells work as a great home remedy of slugs. This is because slugs don’t like moving across sharp objects, although it isn’t not impossible for them to do, they just prefer not to.
What you need: Empty egg shells
How it works: Break up the empty egg shells into small(ish) pieces and place around the flowers, plants, vegetables, and fruits you want to keep safe from slug damage.
An added bonus with this method: Calcium from the egg shells helps enrich the soil as they decompose.
4. Nut shells
Broken nut shells work in the same way as egg shells when getting rid of slugs.
What you need: nut shells
How it works: Break up the nut shells into small pieces, and create a protective barrier around your plants. Any slugs that come near your vegetables will soon turn the other way.
5. Petroleum Jelly
Petroleum jelly can be a good way to protect potted plants from slug damage. The slippery texture of petroleum jelly makes it difficult for a slug to grip onto a surface.
What you need: petroleum jelly
How it works: Apply this jelly in a band around the rim of your flower pots, containers, and even the stalks of your plants using petroleum jelly. Vapor rub also works in a similar way.
Although for us, that first cup of coffee in the morning can help us get through the day, slugs, on the other hand, hate it. This makes it a good home remedy to use in your garden.
What you need: ground coffee beans (not instant coffee granules)
How it works: Sprinkle coffee grounds around your plants. Fresh coffee is more effective than instant. Also the higher the caffeine content the more effective the solution.
If you don’t have any coffee beans to hand, some coffee shops offer their customers grounds from their machines free of charge.
7. Grapefruit trap
Slugs are lovers of citrus. This means that fruits such as grapefruit can be used to make your own slug traps.
What you need: empty grapefruit rinds (peel)
How it works: Place a couple of empty grapefruit rinds upside down on the ground, making sure there is enough clearance for a slug to enter. The grapefruit rind provides slugs with food, and a damp environment to hide. Leave overnight and dispose of any slugs caught in the morning.
Seaweed, both fresh and powdered is a good home remedy for slugs, and it’s great for soil as well! The reason why this home remedy works is due to the salt content in these products, which we all know slugs aren’t that keen on.
What you need: Seaweed (fresh or powdered)
How it works: Place the seaweed (or sprinkle if using the powdered form) around the plants you wish to protect.
Seaweed is a great natural repellent for slugs, and will help keep your garden free from slug damage.
9. Natural predators
Animals such as hedgehogs, birds, beetles, frogs, and toads are all natural predators of slugs and love to tuck into these pests as a tasty snack.
What you need: DIY skills, creativity and a little patience
How it works: Make your backyard more appealing to these animals by building a hedge hog shelter, installing a pond and/ or setting up bird feeders.
Introducing these animals into your garden will naturally control any slug infestation that might occur.
10. Slug repelling plants
If you’ve read our garden pests blog you’ll know that companion planting plants, which repel insects can be a great prevention method. There are a handful of plants which are believed to be a natural repellent for slugs.
What you need: slug repelling plants – Living Green suggest that wormwood, rue, fennel, anise, and rosemary are the best slug repelling plants.
How it works: Plant these amongst your flowers, fruits, and vegetables to help prevent slug damage.
Slugs are just one of many pests, which can inhabit your garden and inflict damages to your plants, furniture and in some cases, your health!