How to get rid of slugs and snails

scgreenthumb1987(8)April 29, 2014

Just as the title says. I've got an amazing among of the Lil pains. Never in my life have I seen this amount. Even used Epson salt and it did about the equivalent of stomping an ant hill. I'm making an attempt (thanks to the people on this forum) to stay away from my beloved seven dust. But this is insane. Might have to go heavy duty on the smaller raised bed anyway due to black widows but I'm needing advice on a more natural way to rid the slugs and snails from my large garden

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

"THE MOST NATURAL WA ?" is catching and killing them.

Go out at night with a flash lighr. Take a container of salt water. IF they are real big , skew them like shrimp, just by pushing the sharp tip of skewer through the center of their belly. IF there are lots of tiny ones, pick them and throw in the salt water.

I have done it for the past 2 season just like that , plus I have use the slug/snail stuff (( called bait, but it is not BAIT in true sense )). Now going into the 3rd season, I have very very few of the around because not very many of them had been left alive to lay eggs and reproduce.

You have to be consistently after catching/hunting them. Luckily ther are not like some insects that can run away fast or hide * Like earwigs)

Another way ((to protect your plants )) is to cover them with nylon tulle. The s/s problem is really big problem with seedlings and small plants. Once the plants grow big (like pepp matoes) the damage is not going to be crucial unless there are WHOLE LOT of them around. But they can eat small seedling down to ground

I also make a killer recipe.

--- one part s/s bait
-- two part (oven dried) coffee ground.
-- 2- 3 parts coarse sand
-- Partially ground eggshels: as much as you can produe. Ground them in your coffee mill, COARSE not powdered.
Sand, in addition being rough also drains rain water away. Eggshells are rough and can tear their belly.

Make good batch of it and sprinkle generously around the plants.

Now, the beginning of the season is the time to do the hard work. But you will have to continue the battle to reduce them to near zero.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 1:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank's my problems with catching them,
1) I work from 4pm until 5am if not more. 6 days a week. So its rare I'm home at night.
2) 5000 square foot is a bit much to go thru by hand.
3 and finally) it's spring in south Carolina lowlands. I live between a major river and a swamp. While rattlesnakes are friends of mine I don't like being in the garden at night due to water moccasins and cotton mouths.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 2:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
stoneys_fatali(9b Duarte,Ca.)

We have snails in our front yard but not our back thank God.
We do have the thousands!

With snails, I use pellets that are safe for wildlife and cats and dogs but deadly to snails..eats their insides.
I killed everyone of them. I just hand cast it where I know they are and done :-)


    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 5:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Cool thanks...what are earwigs?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 5:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just put a few bowels of beer out there they cant resist it. They will crawl in and over indulge themselves to death. Try 1 bowel for 1 night and send back a post. It works.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 7:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You will come across many methods in your search. I've probably tried them all over the years and they all have worked. None are 100%, but using a few methods that suit your situation and work schedule, some combination will make sense.

Copper tape tacked down on the edge of raised salad beds does work. I just run steel wool over it to re-fresh every spring. After the bed is prepped for seed and plants are very young, i use a bit of the granular bait, not much.

As an added insurance, especially for herb beds that do not have copper, i use old beer.
Small plant saucer pushed down at soil level. That gets the misc. 'hobo's'.
-handy during a busy work week.

To start catching a larger problem, water only in the morning. Lay down thick soaking wet newspaper...they will find the moisture and hide underneath. Turn it over in the morning and you will find a slug party. Carry it out of the garden area and sprinkle with salt to kill.
(if you don't like touching) or pluck and put in salty container of water.
DO NOT sprinkle salt into your garden directly on the slugs like i caught my dad doing.
He killed my entire basil bed and thought he was helping...grrr

My most successful method is diatomatious earth, food grade, that i apply just as the hostas poke out of the soil in spring, that would be today. Purchased two 5lb bags a few years ago on Amazon and just opened the second bag this morning. I sprinkle around the hosta bed, wearing a quality dust mask. The dust is not good for your lungs but it is not harmful wet. We are having a damp day and i find it just as effective wet. (some say no)

I am also putting some into my woodland spray mix for the edge of the property as a tick repellant/killer, deer-be-gone etc...that mixture has other things and different subject...

The best combination of tricks is what you have time for and sticking with it early in the season.
It took me a couple years to catch up with it all but no problems last year at all.
Just needed a few beer traps. And the other easy things longer bother with a newspaper trick as my numbers are WAY down. I may see 3 or 4 a day in beer traps.
One in my salad bed...often very tiny ones that if find in my salad rinse water.

I helped a friend with her second year garden...she called screaming that i increased her slug population...(i call it 'hysterical gardening', lol). Her wet newspapers we loaded as well as her beer traps. Soon she had it all under control.
-some think traps invite them from surrounding counties and neighbors yards...
(i don't believe that at all).

-can't stand being around ammonia so never tried that one, never will.

Here is a link that might be useful: getting rid of slugs

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 10:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't believe in wasting good beer, so I use iron phosphate pellets.

Sleevendog pretty much covered it.


    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 11:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you're not home in the evenings and nights, you may have to use the methods that don't need you to be there.

Even a board that will make a damp spot for them to congregate can be checked in the morning when you get home. Your large property could also have a few toads or ducks, which love to eat slugs and snails, if your neighborhood allows it.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 11:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I agree with Kevin on using beer. Plus, it is not practical for 5000 sqr-ft garden. If you are concerned about chemicals, use SLUGO, which is environmentally friendly. It just cost more.
My method, on small scale, has worked for me, proven positive after 2 seasons.
Good thing about slugs is that they cannot come from too far away and need to breed in your garden and they are easy to be detected and destroyed.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 11:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Slugs dont need the whole beer ,just a little back wash .

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 12:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks a million yall I'll be trying several of the ideas I've learned here.

Old beer? I wasn't aware anyone let beer get old lol.

I have frogs and toads galore. (It's what draws the snake I think) but ducks don't stay around long.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 3:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Must be a near-beer alternative. Some home brew mix for those not willing to part with a swig. I seem to have a few gag bottles left over from a gathering...
bring some cheap stuff and drink my good stuff. : )

Or for those those who do not drink beer. Husband seems to loose one somewhere while doing yard work...or fall asleep with one half full.
Don't really need much. Even with a week of rain, they seem to just dive in on top of each other.

Did not really address the specific issue. (did not realize i was in pepperville)
I was just cruising various topics now that a big storm has rolled in.
My climate is not great for peppers. Just a dozen or so. Keeping the lower leaves off the soil and collar them early when young with a strip of copper if needed. I have a load of strips i cut years ago and they just need a bit of wire wool. Hardware stores have copper flashing, the raw stuff. Some have a coating to keep it 'pretty'. That won't work. Tin snips cut it easily.

I still think, for large scale, and early plantings before the slugs have a chance, is the diatomaceous earth. Just read and research the best way to apply.

This is the one i ordered a few years ago...

Here is a link that might be useful: diatomaceous earth

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 3:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I just wish Beer worked on Moles

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 4:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

actually, the snakes may be the problem

they might be eating the toads.frogs and scaring away the ducks
those are the natural predators.
Those are what should keep the population in check in nature.
Lizards and Newts as well.

If you have a lot of places for them to hide (IE mulch) then, looking for them is a huge job
if there are only some rocks and flat surfaces you can turn over, you could start there, especially, if you can get them laying eggs!
(mentioned in the link below)

I was thinking you could buy those cheap dixie cups, and make a solution of sugar water and yeast in a bucket
fill the dixie cup 1/2 full, and put 50 of them out.


Colorado State University Entomology Professor Whitney found that Kingsbury Malt Beverage, Michelob, and Budweiser attracted slugs far better than other brands.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 12:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm also looking for ways to rid my garden of slugs and snails. Last years cabbage looked like lace.
Picking them off at night isn't an option.
The use of coffee grounds, egg shells, ashes helped but those wash away.
This year scrap copper and beer are my attempts. But I'm way interested in using yeast since I don't drink beer and it seems like yeast would be cheaper.
Anyone have a recipe?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 1:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Zagut: you sure it was slugs? And not caterpillars? I'm not saying slugs can't do damage to cabbages, but when somebody says their brassicas look like lace, I think cabbage worms(loopers) right away.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 1:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
flipback23(9 SF Bay)

If you use snail bait stick with the ones made from iron phosphate better for you when they break down, doesnt leave no harsh chemical compounds plus the iron is good for the plants lol. I use slugo and natria maybe nutria I get it from lowes much cheaper than slugo. I get swamped by slugs and snails every year they come over from both neighbors every night. So I just sprinkle it around the perimeter of my beds and containers works like a champ. I tried the hand picking thing but got tired of going out every night.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 3:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Woohooman, It was slugs for sure. I just didn't have the time to fight them off. Caterpillars I can deal with it's slugs and snails that give me a headache.

Is Slugo safe for kitties?

I haven't seen a snail poison I'd want to use around pets. I don't like to use poisons but I've got to find something. I'm getting tired of getting the leftovers from the critters.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 4:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Says it is on the label.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 4:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Greenman.... While I'm sure the snakes are eating the frogs and toads I've got plenty to spare. Like PLENTY. I like anything that eats mosquitos so I encourage the amphibians. Also have an odd amount of newts or salamanders. Not sure which. Perhaps both. I've got a house covered in tree frogs every morning. (BRight green mostly. Like living decorations lol) I'm not sure if black widows eat slugs but I'm fighting them off as well.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 5:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks much. I'll google Slugo and go from there.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 2:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Instead of BEER try some water with a little bread yeast in it. I have heard (not tried myself) that is the yeast in beer that attracts slugs.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 4:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Beer worked for me! I know it's a waste, but it will get rid of them. Buried a few bowls flush with top of soil. Put about three quarters full of beer. By morning, the bowls were full of slugs. Did this for a week or so and got rid of them! Apparently the slugs get drunk. Its kinda funny to see them stretch out, drink for a few minutes and then fall forward into bowl!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 12:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a problem. Just found a snail on my Kalanchoe luciae. I knocked it out of the pot, doused the snail with salt water and sprayed the plant with a 50/50 vinegar-water solution.

This was one snail, but is it a harbinger of more to come? I have aloe in my backyard, and my neighbors have aloe and other sorts of plants as well. This is the first time having ever seen a snail, which I suspect was attracted to the Kalanchoe luciae plant.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 5:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I was inundated with the little fellas, put copper tape down...salted the perimeter, scattered slug pellets far and wide, had salt spray,made beer traps...THE WORKS!!
What finally got rid of them was a dosing of nematodes! Was a tad skeptical at first but after going through all tried and tested methods and still having to deal with holes eaten in my plants it was time for the big guns...nematodes, they worked their magic and a few days later all the slugs were dead!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 5:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Mecdave Zone 8/HZ 9

Ha, for those considering doing a little night hunting, you might consider carrying a different type of flashlight. Overturning boards and such where I live may reveal one of these...

It's a regular brown scorpion, but shining a UV/Blacklight on one will make them glow florescent green. A digital camera won't pick up the UV though so it has to be changed in post processioning from purple to what your eyes actually see (I forget which filter).

This post was edited by mecdave on Thu, May 22, 14 at 8:54

    Bookmark   May 22, 2014 at 8:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

More info in the Florida Gardening forum.

Here is a link that might be useful: Please share your tips on getting rid of Slugs and Snails

    Bookmark   May 22, 2014 at 9:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
DMForcier(8 DFW)

> "Just put a few bowels of beer out there "

pepperdave, do you mean pee ?

Never knew that pee killed slugs. May have to reevaluate my lifestyle...


    Bookmark   May 22, 2014 at 12:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I tried the Natria slug bait (which uses iron phosphate like Sluggo but is cheaper). It seems to have worked or at least controlled the population. I don't see as many slugs and snails around as much in the evenings and mornings anymore. It's still a on-going control method but for now, the constant frustration of seeing some new damage every morning is over.

Of course, that is also combined with the plants growing bigger and fuller, so I may not notice bits and pieces of damage here and there. However, I'm basing my conclusions on actually not seeing as many bait pieces (assuming they were eaten) and not seeing as many of slugs and snails, as opposed to seeing plant damage.

This morning, I did saw some ants carrying the bait away, so at least I know they seem to play a part in the disappearing bait also.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2014 at 3:53PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
have 3rd generation hot bell (jalepeno bell cross)-- seed swap
need bhut jolokia/ghost pepper immediately- it's getting...
Another Forum Suggestion?
What is another forum that we can migrate to? This...
Poblano question
I live in central oklahoma. I garden in well amended...
Cooking With Fresh Peppers
When we talk about chili/ hot peppers, hot red peppers...
Seysonn_ 7b-WA/HZ1
crunch sweet orange
Just curious, is the guy who developed the crunch...
Sponsored Products
Fairmont Designs Smithfield 21" Vanity - Medium Gray
Modern Bathroom
'Love' Chalkboard 3D Wall Sign
$34.99 | zulily
Rapson Low Back Lounge Chair - Loll Designs
$1,099.00 | HORNE
Trex Chairs Surf City Textured Silver Patio Dining Arm Chair with Vintage
Home Depot
Artehouse Greyhound Wooden Wall Art - 14W x 20H in. - 0004-1975-26
$64.99 | Hayneedle
Ceiling Tiles Tin Plated Steel Cornice Torch & Flame | 19214
The Renovator's Supply, Inc.
Bracket System - BRACKET
$52.99 | Hayneedle
'Flattery Will Get You Nowhere' Box Sign
$6.99 | zulily
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™