Eleven Ways to Get Rid of Slugs and Snails

Eleven Ways to Get Rid of Slugs and Snails

1: In per­ma­cul­ture we say, “Got too many snails? You don’t have enough ducks.” Slugs and snails are great food for ducks and chick­ens, much bet­ter than the processed food at most feed stores. The ducks and chick­ens are all over them in sec­onds. I per­son­ally am very fond of ducks, and good man­nered ducks can come into my gar­den any­time and look for snails and slugs. Chick­ens are inter­est­ing too. I have been told they have a lan­guage of 100 sounds, and I imi­tate their lan­guage back to them. I like to let the chick­ens in the gar­den in the late after­noon. They go for the slugs, snails and bugs, but are ready to leave for the coop at dusk before they dig up the garden.

2: Beer traps work great for catch­ing slugs. Place a saucer of cheap beer on the ground. The slugs are attracted to the odor of the beer, crawl in for a drink, and drown. Do sev­eral times, and soon all the slugs will be gone. Don’t let the beer become diluted with over­head sprin­klers or rain.

3: Non-toxic, food grade Diatoma­ceous Earth (Insect Dust) is very effec­tive for slugs. Diatoma­ceous Earth is fos­silized shells of tiny water-dwelling organ­isms. When ground up, they have micro­scop­i­cally fine, sharp edges. It is applied by sprin­kling around gar­den beds or indi­vid­ual plants, or mixed with water to make a foliar spray. It is a fine pow­dery dust and can be irri­tat­ing to the lungs and eyes, so read the appli­ca­tion direc­tions. Diatoma­ceous earth is less effec­tive when wet, so use it dur­ing our dry Mediter­ranean sum­mers. Don’t buy the D.E. used in swim­ming pools. Non toxic food grade D.E. is avail­able locally and by mail order at Peace­ful Valley.

4: Set half an orange or grape­fruit rind round side up or over­turned flow­er­pot or a board on the ground in the gar­den. Wet it good, and leave it overnight. Slugs gather under­neath. This can be a hit-or-miss method, but it some­times works really well.

5: Encour­age slug preda­tors like birds and toads. Robins love slugs. Throw some slugs to your favorite birds, and they will keep an eye out for more. Attract toads with an upside down bro­ken clay pot in a shady spot.

6: Water­ing strat­egy. Slugs are most active at night, or when the ground is moist and they can travel eas­ier. Change your water­ing sched­ule to water in the morn­ing so the soil or mulch is dried out by evening, which report­edly can reduce the chances of dam­age by snails and slugs up to 80%.

7: Sea­weed is a good soil amend­ment and a nat­ural repel­lent for slugs. If you have access to sea­weed, mulch with it around the base of plants or perime­ter of bed. Sea­weed is salty and slugs avoid salt. Push the sea­weed away from plant stems so it’s not in direct con­tact. Dur­ing hot weather, sea­weed will dry and become very rough which also deters the slugs. Don’t put lots of sea­weed on already salty alka­line soil.

8: Cof­fee grounds. Another cheap and good way to get rid of slugs is by sprin­kling cof­fee grounds around your gar­den, espe­cially around plants that are more attrac­tive to snails and gar­den slugs. The grounds will dry out in the sun, and these crit­ters don’t like to crawl over them. Using a wide, shal­low strip of cof­fee is best. How­ever, hor­ti­cul­tural side effects of using strong grounds such as espresso on the gar­den are uncer­tain. When using cof­fee grounds, mod­er­a­tion is advised.

9: Sprin­kle crushed egg shells around vul­ner­a­ble plants. Slugs and snails will avoid cross­ing the sharp shells and it will enrich your soil with calcium.

10: Another dis­like of snails is sand, which they do not like to cross. Put a band of fine sand about ¼” high (1cm) high around the gar­den edge or base of plants.

11: Seri­ous slug con­trol: gather 1/2 cup of slugs, 2 cups of water and a cou­ple cloves of gar­lic. Blend, and spray on plants. The extra mix­ture can be frozen for later use.

If you have other good for the earth ways to get rid of slugs and snails, I’d love to hear about them.
Send me an e-mail or face­book me.

How to eat snails: cap­ture the round snails and place in a box or bas­ket full of finely ground non-gmo corn. After sev­eral days, the snails guts will be cleaned out. They can be boiled and dipped in but­ter or coconut oil. Buen provecho!

By the the way, the long skinny snails pre­date on the round snails.