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I see so many people saying use salt. "Don't" use salt! It's bad for the PH in the soil and you will not be able to grow anything there. Others suggest beer and who knows what else. Sure those options may work if you have a "few" snails or slugs around like on a patio, but if you have a garden, yard, greenhouse, etc. then you have more than a few and need a better solution. You have to stay on top of getting dead leaves raked up and moved and try not to have much ground cover plants around (like ivy). Those two things alone will make a huge difference in the snail population.
Anyways now for the secret. I have tried it all bait, pellets, beer, coffee and it's all bologna.
What you need is diatomaceous earth (DE). "DE is a white powder made from the fossilized remains of diatoms, one-celled algae that have a skeleton made of silicon", Gillman says. "To a slithering slug, this lethal powder is extremely sharp and cuts their undersides, causing dehydration." DE does have to be replenished each time it rains, making it a better choice for climates where it does not rain frequently. (Note: Buy only untreated diatomaceous earth formulated for garden use, and wear a dust mask when applying it. DE made for swimming pools is chemically altered and not suitable for use in any garden, much less an organic one.) Yes, also this is an organic way of dealing with pesky snails and slugs alike.
Source: Organic Gardening website
My best success in fighting slugs has been making a two week commitment in early spring. I use a bucket of soapy water and some rubber gloves. Every evening at dusk I go around the yard gathering slugs and dropping them in the bucket. For the rest of the season there wasn't much of a problem.
Slugs are strongly attracted to moist, used corn cobs. Place them in a shady spot near where you have a slug problem and in the morning you can either salt them or collect and dispose of them. When the slugs are no longer interested in the cob, recycle it into your compost.
By vra from CT
Are you having trouble deciding what to do to kill the slugs on your okra, bell pepper plants, and flowers. I was having a huge problem and tried a few things. Well, here is the best, quickest, cheapest solution:
When you peel your cantaloupe or melon, just save the rind and place upside down in your garden and flower bed. It is sweet and moist and the slugs gather there. You can take a night light out (this is when they crawl around) with a few paper towels.
I just collected about 20 tonight from a tiny garden. I was so pleased with the result. You also can keep leaves at the bottom of plant clipped off and put crushed eggshells at the base of the plant, it helps the plant also.
By Carol from Waynesboro, GA
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Does anyone have a good way to get rid of slugs? I've tried beer, yeast, and all kinds of store bought products. Someone said Sluggo works, but I haven't seen it in any store I've been in. Any suggestions would be welcome.
By Holly from Lancaster, WI
They will not cross copper; so if you have garden beds that you can edge with copper tape, that stops them. If you cannot do that (as a more permanent solution); you can put down diatomaceous earth where you don't want them. It is made of microscopic sea organisms that are "sharp" to slugs, and they won't go on it. But you will have to replace it every time it rains.
I have heard that crushed egg shells will do similarly, but I don't know.
I use Sluggo, but it is expensive. It is more organic than some of the slug killers, though. I also try to clean out all the dead leaves from around plants, as they love to hide there.
Put salt down around your beds, the salt will kill slugs.
Slugs hate wood ash. If you have a wood stove or fireplace keep the ashes. Sprinkle the ashes around your plants, being sure to resprinkle if you water or it rains.
They don't like prickly, sharp surfaces so the broken eggshells is a good idea or any broken bits and pieces (like broken sea shells) placed around the plants they seem to favor. The eggshells will eventually decompose and help fertilize the soil.
I'm surprised the beer hasn't worked for you. I heard the best method is to put the beer in a pan and set it into the ground. If they don't overdose, they will probably drown. You do have to refresh it every few days.
I have heard that the copper works as well. I guess they get some sort of shock when they cross it ... kind of like a little electric fence. But copper is pretty expensive right now.
You can also lay a board down in the garden and they will go under it during the day. When you lift it up during the day, they will be hiding underneath and you can exterminate them by your method of choice (like sprinkling salt on them).
I have also heard that they have an aversion to caffeine and that putting coffee grounds around your plants will not only deter them because of the prickly service but the caffeine will also keep them back. The grounds will also decompose and add nutrients to the soil.
I am looking for a slug treatment that won't harm cats and dogs.
Hardiness Zone: 9a
Cut pieces of PVC into 1 foot lengths. Squeeze deadline into them (just a squirt), tilt so deadline runs towards center. Slugs can enter PVC, animals cannot.
Bury a dish up to the rim in the soil and pour in a couple of inches of beer. Slugs can't resist it. We use it all the time.
The beer works great. Every spring, when I am planting my garden, I "plant" a couple of beer bottles. Bury them a couple of feet apart, standing them straight up, so the top of the bottle is level with the ground. Pour in a couple of inches of beer, and the slugs will crawl in. I add about an inch of beer every week. At the end of summer I toss out the slug filled bottle and start again the next spring. Works wonderfully!
I hear sprinkling hair (ask for it when yours gets cut) around the base of a plant the slugs do not like hair they wont cross it. It sticks to them. This will not harm you animals.
On the side of my house I have a silver trail were slugs go up and down, up and down. This happens at night. I can't make out where they come from. They go gable end up to apex and down about 2 feet from ground. Thank you.
By I Phelan
Put crushed egg shells where you see their path going up. This should take care of that area.
I want a natural slug repellent that doesn't kill the slugs, but just deters them. I don't want the bad karma of killing them just because they're hungry.
Francie from Sandy Ridge, NC
Try sprinkling salt where they go, or put sharp rocks or sticks in their path and they will not crawl over them.
Copper tape/strips and also copper compounds will repel them, not kill them. And also check out how to make your yard less hospitable to slugs in the first place:
Slugs hate to cross over crushed eggshells! It is worth a try
Try chopped egg shells and fresh coffee grounds. I also heard Sluggo works and is not harmful to other animals. Don't worry about killing them, there won't be any bad Karma. There's only blessings and curses and if you get rid of them anyway you can, you'll be blessed!
I tried the crushed egg shells around my pumpkin plants and it works like a charm. I have not seen any slugs on my plants and the egg shells look kinda cool too. From a distance, they look like crushed white rock. Give it a try! It works!
Thanks, everybody, for your input.
I planted tomatoes and garlic last year in an 18" raised bed and at night these black slimy things came out of the bottom under the wooden raised bed. They didn't have any shells. I finally found out that they came out just before dark. They would climb up the sides of the bed into the plant area. One night I went out with a flashlight and captured a whole bunch of them and disposed of them. What are they? I didn't get a picture.
Is there anything to rid my gardens and flower beds of slugs and snails? I can't buy enough beer to control the numbers we are infested with! In my flower beds I sometimes use a Ortho pellet, but I don't want to use pesticides on my vegetables and fruits. Any suggestions?
By Christianne A from Dansville, NY
Does anyone know how to make an effective, liquid slug repellent/killer?
Hardiness Zone: 8a
By Karen D. Nichols from OR
I too have trouble with slugs. I would go out to the garden each morning and "pick" the slugs off. (save for fishing bait) This summer I have used milorganite fertilizer in my gardens and flower containers. The slugs have stayed away. I have also used slug and snail powder purchased at any garden center. That also works, but must be repeated frequently.
How go I get rid of slugs? They are overtaking my decking and I want to get rid of them.
By Jem from Scotland
How do I permanently get rid of slugs? My front and back yard are overrun with slugs. I have used Sluggo, but you have to use it again every couple of weeks. I can't afford that! The slugs have totally destroyed my yard. There are holes and little mounds of dirt everywhere. My dog goes out in the yard and when she comes back in, she has slug slime all over her paws, because you can't walk anywhere in my yard with out stepping on a slug. Someone please help. They are driving me crazy (literally)!
By Zoe AB
Please share thrifty, but humane, ways to repel slugs and snails from the vegetable garden. Please do not include any methods that involve killing the animals.
This is a guide about keeping slugs out of your garden. If you live where slugs are prevalent you know the destruction they can cause. They can quickly consume plants and ruin your garden.
By setting out shallow bowls filled with beer you can control slugs in your garden without the use of pesticides. This is a guide about use beer to prevent slugs.
Used in the proper proportion ammonia to water, many gardeners have had success in controlling slugs by spraying with this mixture. This is a guide about using ammonia for slug control.
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Natural remedies for slug prevention suggested by our ThriftyFun community. Post your own tips here.
You can put out shallow pans of beer or grape juice. They are attracted to the yeast in the beer. I'm not sure why they like the grape juice, but it's cheaper than beer.
I've also read that you can use old sandpaper disks around the stem of the plant, just cut a slit up to the center of the disk and put the disk on the ground around the stalk of the plant.
You could also use crushed up eggshells around your plants.
By Dana Sipe
The eggshell thing works great that luv2crafts talked about. It's natural and works great. I use them around my Hostas. Just rinse out the egg shell and lay to dry on a paper towel. After they have dried, crush them up. I save these all winter long. After you have dried them, put them in an old coffee can and save for the springtime. If you are using mulch, make sure they are on top of the mulch.
Try fresh, unused coffee grounds; spread it in a ring around the base of the plant; snails (and maybe slugs too) hate the caffeine. For ants: I've heard that a natural ant repellent is to use any spray cleanser that has orange oil in it. I've just tried it a couple of times, but it worked both times. Good luck.
By Lynn Marler
I live in the slug capitol of the world, the Pacific Northwest. I heard on the radio this weekend that oyster shell is very good for them and cheap. You can buy a bag of it for feeding chickens (grit for their diet) at the feed store. It was suggested as an organic replacement for diatomaceous earth because here, the rain washes that away quickly. Oyster shell is in bigger pieces so easier to keep on top of the ground.
Thought I'd share some ideas from the England here.
Susan, You are absolutely right about the chicken grit. We put it around all of our Hosta and it really is quite pretty. Putting a small amount did not work very well so my husband put a large ring of the oyster shells and it worked great. It is the first season there are no holes in the Hosta leaves, yea.
Barb from MI (08/24/2007)
By Barb Oakes
All of the suggestions work if you don't have a seriously cool, wet, shaded garden already slug prone. In this instance, using the ammonia and water spray method, but repeating it twice in spring, a month apart, mid summer and then again after fall clean up, you can almost rid yourself of them permanently. It's important to note that the underside of the foliage is as a more likely place to find a slug than the upper, so spray entire plant. Ammonia will "not" burn the plants if diluted 10/1 ratio.
Charlotte from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada (08/27/2007)
Something I've been using is good old salt. Just sprinkle a good amount of salt in a ring or line any where you may have a problem. They do not like salt. If you happen to see any slugs in places such as, under garbage pails, just sprinkle some salt on to cover the slug(s), and they will be a problem no more. I know this will work for you and this problem solver couldn't be any cheaper. (09/03/2007)
I need to get rid of slugs that are taking over my back yard. Please help. What are my options? I do have pets, so I do need safe products.
By jenny from Tomball, TX
Make a bottle of ammonia and water and squirt them dead. Your lawn might get a burn mark on it, but your animals will be safe and the slugs will actually die. When you put salt on them they only build up a slim and then move off unless your drown them with it. Spraying the slippery, ugly, destructive little things is kind of satisfying. (01/27/2010)
I know that this sounds evil, but my Grandmother was a wonderful gardener and she would take herself out into the garden at night with a torch, preferably after rain, and a very sharp old kitchen knife. (01/29/2010)
Get cans of beer with pop tops. Partially bury them in the ground, open the pop top. The slugs like the smell of the beer and will fall in the can. Later you can just throw the can away. (01/29/2010)