Coffee grounds as slug/snail repellent?

tclynxSeptember 5, 2007

Has anyone ever tried this? I understand that caffene is toxic to snails and slugs and have heard of coffee spray being used to control them. What about just top dressing with coffee grounds? Is there still enough caffene in the grounds to have much effect? I'm planning to try it out since the coffee grounds are good for the garden and provide nitrogen anyway but I was wondering if anyone has noticed their effect on snail/slug problems.


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I've seen slugs crawl right over coffee grounds so I don't believe there is any deterent value in the coffee grounds. Cold caffienated coffee sprayed on plant leaves does repel them, but if the coffee grounds dry out it would be no different than soil.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 1:27PM
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I guess that answers that question.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 5:11PM
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gumby_ct(CT it says Z5)

I've noticed no difference with grounds in the garden or a spray on the leaves but hey, give it a try, nothin to loose, right?

Let us know what you think!!

Good Luck,

    Bookmark   September 8, 2007 at 5:11PM
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beer... for me doesn't work for snails but works fantastic for slugs! :o) If I put it out consistently and enough of it, I can put a dent in the slug population.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2007 at 11:13PM
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I read somewhere that the container for the beer has to be deep enough for them to fall into, which might be why it has never worked for me in the past.

I would have thought coffee grounds would work great - has anyone had success with these?

    Bookmark   September 9, 2007 at 10:14AM
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slugs are eeeeeevil. you have to pick them off one by one, put them in soapy water, spray them with vinegar or ammonia or even put them on the sidewalk and sprinkle salt on them and watch them sizzle.

Doesnt that work with vampires too? Told ya they were eeeeeevil.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2007 at 9:38PM
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I tried the beer, and it worked but I just have too much area and too many slugs and snails. I buy Sluggo at my local organic gardening center, and it is great!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2007 at 3:16PM
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coffe doesn't work for me with slugs but crushed egg shells works great- they don't even try to go there. I also created a place for slugs to hang out away from the garden by planting some flowers in a wooden box and they all seem to just go there. when I lift up the boxes it seems there is a party going on and they tend to be happy and stay there.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2007 at 11:32PM
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I have not noted any impact of coffee or coffee grounds on slugs and snails. They crawl right over the grounds, and sprays don't seem to deter them for me. Sluggo works very well, can be put in small bait stations, if you want to protect it from being washed out in the rain, and has no dangerous properties for people or pets.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2007 at 11:26PM
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I am with Renais in regard to sluggo or any other brand of iron phosphate bait.

The stuff simply works and works well and is non toxic to anything we care about.

With the advent of iron phosphate baits I can't think of any reason to use anything else for control of slugs/snails.

Forget about coffee, it has been tested and simply does not work.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2007 at 2:39AM
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I had noticed some snails around so had worried that they could be a problem for my garden, especially since I use lots of wood chips and leaves for mulch. But so far I have only found one snail on any of my garden plants. Probably have to keep an eye out at different times of year but I'm figuring so far in the hot fall garden here they might not be an issue.

Come cooler weather when I plant out greens, it may be a different story.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2007 at 1:30PM
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I know that slugs and snails are prevelant in the northern states. What about Southern States. I live in Central/West part of Forida and you don't see slugs or snails here only on rare occassions. Is it the climate that causes that or does the soil play a factor in this?

Thanks to those who commented on Slugo if I ever get a problem I'll run to my local organic store and pick some up.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 10:22AM
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I have seen some large problematic slugs in central FL before. I think the only reason I haven't seen any in my garden yet is that I've only been at this location since Feb. I expect that certain times of year it might just be too hot for them. I'm going to keep a close eye out as we get into cooler fall weather.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 6:30PM
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FRESH coffee grounds (Robusto beans) work. These are the least expensive type. Bearing in mind that the slugs can emerge from the soil at virtually any point, sprinkle heavily enough that the slugs MUST encounter them on the way to food. My guess is that the caffeine passes through the slime barrier and that death is by means of nervous exhaustion. This would not normally be their food, so I don't imagine them choosing to eat it. What I am certain of is that the results were, literally overnight, dramatic in my garden. Moreover, the effect seemed to linger the rest of the summer.

USED coffee grounds and brewed coffee do not contain enough caffeine to work but DO serve other purposes in the garden (or compost pile) and none in the landfill, so, even though they have no impact on slugs, keep using them in the garden anyway.

Sluggo contains EDTA / EDDS. These are harmful to earthworms and not accepted by the Swiss organic certification body.

Here is a link that might be useful: City-Roots. Organic gardening in urban spaces

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 5:39PM
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Oh my goodness! California has not yet set their best do gooders on the kill Sluggo and Escargo mission. The Swiss are ahead of them.

I have used Escargo for years. My worm count at it's best three years ago was twelve to twenty in the turn of a single garden spade from an organic content of seventeen percent. That also was at the height of the largest one time observation of egg laying I have yet to witness. Escargo has been in use here on the same ground for as long as it has been available without any noticeable harm to anything but the slugs. The robins and moles eat more worms than Sluggo or Escargo harm.

On that great garden soil I have grown nine hundred pound Atlantic Giant pumpkins, ninety eight inch Long Gourds and up to five pound tomatoes. The Long Gourd was the largest such gourd grown in Pennsylvania a few years ago. The genetics in that seed produced more over a hundred inch gourds in the history of the sport. All of these items grew with the protection of Escargo in close and continuous use to protect them from an army of slugs.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 10:34PM
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kathyp(z9 CA)

I use Sluggo, and have for years. It works here in CA - or as my husband calls it - slug central. We have snails and slugs galore, and the ONLY things that work are hand picking, or Sluggo. And picking is obviously preferable, but not practical. With 3 kids and LOT of garden space, I do what I can, but Sluggo keeps them in check, and I have food to feed my family. Not perfect, but then, this isn't a perfect world. Do your best, and don't be afraid to use organic "help" when needed.


    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 2:08AM
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carolb_w_fl(zone 9/10)

FWIW - I live in West Central FL too & I have an ENORMOUS snail & slug problem. Specifically: little brown & giant tan slugs & 3 different varieties of snails - the largest being (I believe) white snails. These guys are only out between dusk & dawn - the rest of the time they're resting in hiding - except for the white snails, which estivate on the sides of my house & various plants & pots, etc..
This year, I started using another brand of iron phosphate granules (Ortho Eco-Sense) & it works great to keep 'em from destroying my mustard greens & sprouting peas & I might actually be able to grow beets this year (fingers crossed). It's a 'rain-proof' version that lasts longer than the regular kind. & I have so many of these pesky molluscs that honestly, after I sprinkle all around the perimeter of the areas I'm protecting, it's ALL gone by the next day!

Here is a link that might be useful: FL gastropods

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 1:00PM
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I've been spreading Diatomaceous earth around in the (possibly) mistaken belief it would keep snails at bay.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 8:47AM
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Caffeine is what makes coffee work.

In used coffee grounds this has been taken out and drunk!

New & fresh coffee grounds work, but are expensive.

Otherwise use Slug Snub, which is treated and recaffeinated grounds. looks nice and works.

PS their site has video proof of it working!! might help those non believers!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Slug Snub Proof - Recaffeinated Coffee Slug Repellent

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 6:39AM
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I will have to try the coffee on the slugs and snails. I have more snails than slugs.

Another thing that works good is soot from the fireplace. It suffocates them. But too much will increase the potash level and can cause a magnesium deficiency. That can be corrected by applying some epsom salt and water. You will notice an orange tinge to your leaves. Good luck! Hope that helps!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 1:34PM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

If you want rigorous research check out the links at Allelopathic, autotoxic Chemicals in Coffee:. I think it has been reasonably established that it is the caffeine that is the working ingredient. Which brings up this interesting question. Should one try that five hour stuff that is marketed to youngsters?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 1:48PM
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    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 2:02AM
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First the best way to stop slugs & snails is to clean up the trash & broads around or in the garden.
This is were they nest.
Second you can lay one broad in a path & check it in the early mourning. Just flip it over & walk the sucker in to the ground. Use old shoes!
Coffee waste does work, has worked for me for years.
I put out beer in the middle of my garden in coffee waste & no slugs or snails, a few nats.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 6:54PM
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