Skip to main content

How to Get Rid of Slugs - the Easy Way

get-rid-of-slugs-2

Get Rid of Slugs From Your Garden

Slugs are cool most of the time, they're neat to watch and they serve important roles in the environment. But the little delinquents insist on eating my plants!

So how do I get rid of these munching mollusks in an easy and environmentally friendly way? Simple...give 'em a beer! It's the best way I've found to get rid of slugs.

The Damage Slugs Do

Slugs like to eat plant leaves. This is good for the environment if the leaves are already dead...not so good when they're on live plants in your garden.

The hungry hooligans in our yard love my wife's petunias. Every year they treat those flowers like the dessert bar at Old Country Buffet and pig out.

In the picture below you can see where the edges of the leaves have been munched and holes eaten in the middle. If the leaves on your plants look like this, you probably have slugs in your garden.

Slug Damage

Slug Damage

Slug Damage

Step 1: Equipment

You'll need two items for this job:

1. A shallow bowl about 1"-2" deep. Old tuna fish cans work well, too.

2. Beer.



Slug Disposal Tools

Slug Disposal Tools

What Beer Should I Serve the Slugs?

You can use any beer but according to a Colorado State University study, the brand of beer you use does make a difference. Of the 12 beers they tested, Kingsbury Malt Beverage (a non-alcoholic brew) and Budweiser were found to be most attractive to slugs.

I proudly serve my slugs Yuengling. Why? This will be the slugs' last drink and they should have something good. Besides, it's what I usually drink. I refuse to spend money on a beer I don't like just because some scientist says to. Yuengling wasn't even one of their test beers.

Step 2: Set Up Your Bar

Position the bowl on the ground amongst the plants that are being eaten. Press the bowl down and twist it a little so that it sits level in the ground.

If possible, get some of the plant leaves to hang over top of the bowl. This gives the bar that tropical feel slugs really dig.

Plan to open your slug bar in the early evening before the slugs become active. I set this one up around 7pm.

The bar is open.

The bar is open.

Step 3: Start Pouring

Pop open your beer and pour some into the bowl. I usually fill the bowl halfway. Make sure you get at least 1/2" to 3/4" of beer in the bowl. That will be enough to fully cover and drown the slugs.

Scroll to Continue

Above you'll see the bar I set up with a nice frothy head on it.

Step 4: Enjoy the Rest of Your Beer

You'll still have plenty of beer left and the night is young. Kick back, relax and toast your new drinking buddies!

Cheers!

Cheers!

Cheers!

get-rid-of-slugs-2

Step 5: Check Your Bar the Next Morning

Did the slugs have a good time?

Yup. I checked the bar at 8am the next morning and found 22 drunken slugs. There was 1 big guy, 5 medium size and 16 little ones.

That's 22 fewer pests eating my plants every night. Not bad for a couple minutes' effort.

The Morning After

The morning after

The morning after

What to Do With the Slugs Afterwards

Like any container of left over beer, your bowl is going to smell the next day. You might be tempted to reuse that beer and leave your bowl out another night to attract more slugs. It's best to clean up and use fresh beer instead.

Here are a few suggestions for what to do with all those dead drunk slugs...

  1. Slugs are full of protein. Toss your slugs and beer into a blender, throw in some ice cubes, fresh fruit and yogurt. Blend thoroughly and you'll have a slug smoothie! On second thought...slugs can also be full of pesticide residue and parasites (like rat lungworm disease) so you better skip this one.
  2. Add the mix to your compost pile and let those slugs enrich your garden instead of eating it.
  3. Dump them out in the woods or trash...anywhere that drunken slug smell won't bother you.

A Bar Needs Music...

Here are a few tunes to give your slug bar a fun atmosphere.

More Gardening Info...

Book Review: The Vegetable Gardeners' Bible by Ed Smith
Most of my gardening experience is from when I was a kid. My family had a big vegetable garden every year and I helped with it until I went to college. Fast...

Useful Gardener Gift Ideas
There are lots of gardening tools out there. When looking for a gardening gift, it's important to give something that will be useful to the gardener. These ...

Oregano - Flavorful Herb That's Easy to Grow
Oregano is an excellent herb to grow and use in your cooking. With a robust flavor it's the backbone of most Italian dishes. This hardy herb grows easily ...

Comments?

Please share your thoughts on slugs in the comments below. How do you get rid of slugs and other pests in your garden? Have you tried this method or do you think it's just a waste of good beer?

Comments & Tips

anonymous on June 19, 2013:

I go out at about 10 p.m when they're slithering around equipped with expendable tongs and a paper bag with salt. They melt away just like the witch in the Wizard of Oz.

anonymous on May 08, 2013:

love your helpful hint. I too am a beer consumer and would hate wasting $$ on slugs that go to AA meetings! I'm trying the beer remedy tonite. I hope it works. I love my plants more than a slimy slug!

anonymous on May 04, 2013:

I have heard about using a "beer bath" to kill my abundance of slugs but have used bait instead. The bait worked a bit, however, since I read your site I'm going to buy a beer today and make my little friends (NOT) drunk tonight. I don't drink, but I'm gonna drink this one for a cheers to those little slugs. Hopefully it will work for the snails too as they are a major problems as well. Oh, btw, I love your humor!

anonymous on July 30, 2012:

I leave my dead slugs at the bottom of the garden every night, somethings eating them, not sure what as yet but the tray is empty every morning. The creature is even getting fussy as it wont eat the slugs killed using salt water!

anonymous on July 29, 2012:

I LOVE THIS IDEA. GOING TO TRY IT TONIGHT IF IT DOES NOT RAIN..THANKS AND ITS BEEN RAININ A LOT. DON'T KNOW ABOUT SMOOTHIE BUT I WILL CERTAINLY DRINK REST OF BEER FROM THE BOTTLE.

MarcellaCarlton on June 14, 2012:

Since I don't drink beer, I use slug bait. It works really well. Great lens.

iMANDY from Melbourne, Australia on May 09, 2012:

I enjoyed this lens so much that I chose to feature it on my most recent lens about snails and slugs :)

anonymous on March 08, 2012:

I loved this post! Pure educational entertainment. Well done. :)

HeartBroken62 on October 05, 2011:

EWEEEE! Slug Smoothie...what a laugh! I have actually been using this method for years in my garden! I don't drink beer so I buy cheap beer and add about a tablespoon sugar...they absolutely LOVE it! Great lens!

anonymous on December 23, 2010:

Man, I like the way you think! Slug Smoothie!

SuperZoe LM on November 04, 2010:

Ohh, I'm going to have a slug smoothie! He he, just kidding! Great ideas here.

anonymous on October 27, 2010:

Okay you have gone WAY to far with the slug smoothie!!!! Beer is a Great way to get rid of the nasty little critters that eat the leaves off of everything I own, nicely done!

anonymous on July 29, 2010:

I've been gardening the same area for 22 years and never had a slug. They just started a few weeks ago. We had a lot of rain this summer. Does anyone know where they came from all of a sudden. Were they just somewhere by water and moved in to eat my lettuce after my garden got moist?

Ruth Coffee from Zionsville, Indiana on June 14, 2009:

Wow, that's simple enough. But, I'll definitely be skipping the part about throwing them in the blender...

CCGAL on April 16, 2009:

Letting them drown happy & drunk is, I think, much kinder than pouring salt on them, which is what I was taught to do as a child. Once we got geese to eat slugs, but goose poo is actually worse than slugs, so that didn't last long. Our slugs on the pacific northwest are called "banana slugs" because that's exactly what they look like. There's even a slug festival with slug races, and I'm told that the banana slug is actually edible, much like snails, but I can't imagine eating either one.

A child I knew had his first garden at the age of 4, and he was delighted to show me the lovely little picket fence he & his father had surrounded it with. Seriously he looked up at me and said, "The fence doesn't work. The snails and slugs crawled right under it."

I enjoyed this lens.

The Goblins Den on January 21, 2009:

Lots of good info there! Remember to keep on sluggin'!

BackyardMom on January 21, 2009:

Hey, I've been doing this for years and it really does work...although my husband can't seem to see the good in wasting beer on slimy little creatures. I wouldn't give them the good stuff though, cheap beer for my slugs!

anonymous on September 11, 2008:

Great lens never read that report so I guess when spring comes back around I need to get a case of bud and I hope all my slugs are of age. 5 stars

Robyco on August 15, 2008:

Great Lens. A god excuse to crack open a few tonight and stop them munching my tomatoes

clouda9 lm on July 26, 2008:

I'd slug ya in the arm if I could and it would be cuz I really enjoyed this lens! I am taking the slimy little critters a Miller Lite for tonight =D

jeffshy on July 09, 2008:

Wow, who knew? We have plenty of slugs, but I like my beer and hate sharing...think I'll give them the dregs at the bottom of the bottle.

Ruth Coffee from Zionsville, Indiana on June 12, 2008:

Love the humor, good tips too!

Related Articles