How To Get Rid Of Slugs Naturally

how to get rid of slugs naturally

The bane of the gardeners life, slugs come in many sizes and colours but all with the same intent, to feed on your plants. There are many articles about the many ways to kill slugs, some conventional and others quite frankly weird. But the organic gardener needs to find out how to get rid of slugs naturally.

Natural Slug Repellent

There are many slug repellents but by choosing not to use harmful chemicals, you will protect the soil, the environment, and the wildlife. Below are the 30 best methods on how to get rid of slugs naturally.

Method #1 Using Coffee To Get Rid Of Slugs

using coffee to get rid of slugs

Slugs don’t like coffee in any form, it is a poison to them, so either make a cup of instant coffee as you normally would(without milk or sugar) wait for it to cool and pour into a spray bottle. Or if you can, get hold of some coffee grounds and spread them around your plants. Coffee grounds improve the soil and repel slugs in 2 ways.

Firstly slugs can’t stand coffee so they will stay away and secondly, slugs can’t slither over the sharp coffee grounds without damaging their soft under bellies. Which then start to ooze their moisture out, a bit like bleeding to death.

Method #2 Using Salt To Get Rid Of Slugs

using salt to get rid of slugs

Does salt kills slugs? Yes it dries them out by extracting all the moisture from their bodies. Great, an easy solution, but sadly that’s not the case, you see salt does get rid of slugs naturally and so it does fit the bill, but there’s a problem. Salt will also poison the ground and make it impossible to grow anything on for a long while after applying it to the soil.

Which brings me very nicely on to the next natural method on how to get rid of slugs.

Method #3 Using Bran To Get Rid Of Slugs

using bran to get rid of slugs

Bran is the outer layers of cereal seeds, and is often prescribed by physicians as a natural anti constipation supplement. It is hard and sharp, and as the slugs try to travel over it the bran will cut open their underside. As bran soaks up moisture, it then naturally dries the slugs up and kills them.

As bran is a natural, plant based substance it will eventually decompose into the soil and improve the soils condition. This makes bran a much more suitable choice than salt as salt is not good for the soil. You will need to replace the bran after rain or heavy watering as once it soaks up moisture it becomes soft and loses its efficacy.

Method #4 Using Cornmeal To Get Rid Of Slugs

Cornmeal is used as a porridge and is commonly used in Mexican cuisine and is made from ground dried maize. It is high in protein and slugs love it. Spread cornmeal around your plants and the slugs will consume it in great quantities.

Once inside the slugs it will expand as it soaks up moisture and the slugs insides will burst and they will die. As cornmeal is 100% natural it is safe for use in the garden and any slug predators will not be harmed from eating it.

Method #5 Using Seaweed To Get Rid Of Slugs

If you are lucky enough to have access to seaweed, it is a great addition to both the compost heap and the garden. The reason Jersey Royal New Potatoes taste that much better than other new potatoes is because they use local seaweed as a natural fertiliser. Spread seaweed around your plants as a mulch to not only improve the soil but also to keep slugs away.

Seaweed retains its saltiness even after washing so of course slugs will avoid it. Once the seaweed has dried out it becomes sharp and slugs will not be able to cross it even if the salt has vanished.

Method #6 Using Diatomaceous Earth To Get Rid Of Slugs

using diatomaceous earth to get rid of slugs

Diatomaceous Earth is the crushed up fossilised remains of prehistoric animals. It is extremely sharp and slugs cannot pass over it without damaging their bodies. Available in all good garden centres, diatomaceous earth is fast becoming one of the gardeners best natural insect repellent.

Always use food grade diatomaceous earth as this will not harm the soil or the environment. That said, don’t inhale the dust if possible and only apply on calm days when it is not windy. Diatomaceous earth improves the soil and is relatively cheap to buy.

Method #7 Using Perlite To Get Rid Of Slugs

using perlite to get rid of slugs

Perlite is a natural compound formed as volcanic flow cools. Use perlite in the same way as diatomaceous earth to achieve the same results. The problem I have with perlite and diatomaceous earth is, as a resource it is limited, once it has all been extracted there will be no more.

As with most commercial products, price dictates availability and both these products are reasonably cheap. Maybe this is because there is an abundant supply or maybe the producers are ignorant of how limited the supply is. I don’t have the answer to that but I try to always use products that will not harm the environment in anyway.

Method #8 Using Beer To Get Rid Of Slugs

using beer to get rid of slugs

Slugs are attracted to beer, if you don’t have any beer you can use a mixture of yeast and sugar water. Place the beer in a shallow container and bury just below the level of the soil. The slugs will crawl in, drink the beer and die in a drunken, but possibly happy state.

If I am being completely honest, I never found this to be a very successful way to get rid of slugs. Possibly because I was too tight with my beer, maybe because I never checked it regularly, or maybe it just didn’t work. It seemed to me the slugs were eating my lettuce and washing it down with my beer and then going home to sleep it off.

Method #9 Using Vinegar To Get Rid Of Slugs

using vinegar to get rid of slugs

Mix vinegar and water in a spray bottle at a ratio of 2 parts water to 1 part vinegar and spray the slugs. This will kill slugs on contact and they can then be added to the compost. Use with care however, as vinegar can and does kill plants.

For that reason I don’t like to use vinegar on slugs, I save it for my chips 🙂 I do know people who swear by the vinegar spray so give it a try if you like.

Method #10 Using Nematodes To Get Rid Of Slugs

using nematodes to get rid of slugs

Nematodes occur naturally in the soil but usually not in adequate enough numbers to do any good. They can be purchased from all good garden centres and come as a powder. When mixed with water and applied to the soil, they will keep it slug free for about 6 weeks.

Quite an expensive solution as you need to re apply every 6 weeks but very effective. They are natural and so do not harm the environment. Worth a try if all else fails.

Method #11 Using Copper To Get Rid Of Slugs

using copper to get rid of slugs

If slugs touch copper they get an electric shock, much like stock fences used on farms. You can use copper wire, copper coins or garden centres now sell copper tape. All good but most effective protecting pot grown plants. The problem is, where in the ground can you place copper tape?

Applying copper to plants is not really practical, but as I say it does work really well on container grown plants.

Method #12 Using Petroleum Jelly To Get Rid Of Slugs On Pots

using petroleum jelly to get rid of slugs

Whilst on the subject of pots, petroleum jelly(Vaseline) is a good barrier protection against slugs. Smear petroleum jelly around the bottom 3 inches of the pot this will stop the slugs from climbing up to reach the plant. Watch for drooping bottom leaves as slugs are very ingenious creatures when it comes to survival.

Method #13 Using Soot To Get Rid Of Slugs

using soot to get rid of slugs

Soot and ash, the remains of fires, are toxic to slugs. They dry the slugs up and make it impossible for them to move. Just spread soot and/or ash around your plants to get rid of slugs naturally.

They also improve the soil adding lime and potassium to the soil. Using soot and ash also saves from over whelming land fill facilities and is therefore environmentally friendly.

Method #14 Using Sawdust To Get Rid Of Slugs

using sawdust to get rid of slugs

Sawdust has been proven to stop slugs. Spread sawdust around your plants to get rid of slugs naturally. The only problem with this is the process needed to break down sawdust in the soil.

Wood products are very high in carbon and cellulose, and they take a lot of nitrogen to decompose. This needs to be taken into account in your growing plan. Grow nitrogen fixing plants in the soil straight after the use of sawdust to restore the balance.

Method #15 Using Sand To Get Rid Of Slugs

using sand to get rid of slugs

Sprinkle sand around your plants to get rid of slugs. You need to use sharp sand because as the name implies, it is sharp. This will stop the slugs from crossing the sand barrier.

Method #16 Using gravel To Get Rid Of Slugs

using gravel to get rid of slugs

Sharp gravel can also be used, and works in the same way as sharp sand. In fact sharp gravel is more effective as it does not wash away as easily as sand.

Method #17 Using Pine Needles To Get Rid Of Slugs

using pine needles to get rid of slugs

Pine needles spread around your plants will get rid of slugs naturally. They contain a high acid content and slugs don’t like acidic conditions.

Method #18 Using Companion Plants To Get Rid Of Slugs

using companion plants to get rid of slugs

The biggest natural ally for organic gardening is companion planting. By growing any of the following in companion with your plants you will protect them from slugs. Companion plants like :-

Method #19 Using Hair To Get Rid Of Slugs

using hair to get rid of slugs

Ask your barber/hairdresser if you can have their waste hair, most will be only too pleased to save on waste disposal. Spread the hair as a barrier around your plants to get rid of slugs naturally. Hair also adds nitrogen and other useful compounds to the soil as it decomposes.

Method #20 Using Garlic Spray To Get Rid Of Slugs

using garlic to get rid of slugs

Add garlic and liquid paraffin to a blender, strain mixture into a spray bottle and apply to your plants. This will get rid of slugs, they don’t like garlic.

Method #21 Using Yucca Spray To Get Rid Of Slugs

using yucca spray to get rid of slugs

Another mixture that gets rid of slugs naturally is obtained by adding yucca leaves and water to a blender. Strain the liquid and add to a spray bottle, spray your plants. Slugs are repelled by yucca plants.

Method #22 Using Geranium Leaf Spray To Get Rid Of Slugs

using geranium leaf spray to get rid of slugs

Use the same method as above to keep slugs away. Slugs are repelled by the scent of geranium leaves.

Method #23 Using Oats To Get Rid Of Slugs

using oats to get rid of slugs

Common porridge oats are a particular favourite of slugs. Spread oats around your plants, the slugs will be attracted to the oats and feast on them. Once they have been consumed they will swell on the moisture inside the slug and the slugs will die.

Method #24 Using Sacrificial Plants To Get Rid Of Slugs

using sacrificial plants to get rid of slugs

Plant Comfrey, Lettuces, Cabbages and other brassicas to attract the slugs. this will keep them away from your prize plants. Unfortunately this method is flawed, as it will just attract more and more slugs.

Method #25 Using Natural Predators To Get Rid Of Slugs

Using Natural Predators To Get Rid Of Slugs

This is by far the most pleasing way to get rid of slugs, because it uses no dangerous chemicals and is completely organic. Make your garden accessible to hedgehogs, frogs, toads, slow worms, and birds. These will all consume large amounts of slugs and other nuisance pests.

Make a small pond, or sink a bowl of water in your garden as near as possible to your crops to attract frogs, toads and birds. Leave a hole the size of a CD case in your fence to allow access to hedgehogs. Keep an undisturbed compost heap to attract slow worms to breed in your garden.

In short make your garden more like a natural habitat, attract the predators and get rid of the slugs.

Method #26 Using Ducks To Get Rid Of Slugs

Using Ducks To Get Rid Of Slugs

Ducks can be trained to feed on slugs, yes that’s right, trained. If you just allow ducks into your garden they will be more of a nuisance than the slugs. If you get trained ducks however, they will hunt for, and eat the slugs.

Method #27 Using Grapefruit halves To Get Rid Of Slugs

Using Grapefruit halves To Get Rid Of Slugs

After eating your half of grapefruit, place the upturned skin in your garden and leave it until the evening. Then lift the grapefruit half and pick the slugs out and either take them at least 250 yards(228 metres) away from your garden. Or drown them in a bucket of soapy water.

This method can be adapted using planks of wood, pieces of carpet, or plastic strips. Lift in the evening and get rid as above.

Method #28 Using Your Fingers To Get Rid Of Slugs

Using Your Fingers To Get Rid Of Slugs

Not for the squeamish but truly effective, simply pick the slugs off your plot or plants with gloved hands and dispatch them as above.

Method #29 Using A Hoe To Get Rid Of Slugs

Using A Hoe To Get Rid Of Slugs

Slugs lay their eggs under the soil, expose these eggs by regularly hoeing your soil. The birds will flock for this rarely found gourmet meal. well I say rarely, see below in facts about slugs.

Method #30 Changing Your Routine To Get Rid Of Slugs

Changing Your Routine To Get Rid Of Slugs

Keep your grass short especially around the edges slugs hide in the overgrown area. Water early in the morning as opposed to late in the evening, slugs like moist soil. By watering in the morning the ground will dry out in the sun and make it more difficult for the slugs to move freely.

Remember to allow access for slug predators at your gardens borders, like fences etc… Keep water baths topped up with fresh water to attract birds who will eat slugs. If you have chickens move their runs regularly to allow them to grub through the soil and eat slugs and slug eggs.

For more information on slugs click here.

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