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General Slug Tips

Getting the slime off: If while dealing with slugs you get the slime on your hands, here is a great way to get it off! Pour a little white vinegar on your hands and wash it off with lukewarm water. Really cuts that slime! Repeat if needed.

Cultivation: Spring cultivation of the soil where practical will help to kill hibernating slugs and eggs.

Seedling Protection: Protect your seedlings with 2-3 litre plastic drink bottles. Make sure no slugs are around the seedlings first. Cut the bottoms out of the bottles, sink them into the soil around the seedlings and remove the caps.

Weeds: Be persistent in hoeing weeds and you will be breaking up clods of soil that slugs like to hide under and you may expose their eggs which you can then smash or leave for the birds.

Mulch: Keep mulch pulled back from the base of your plants. Consider waiting to apply mulch until the soil temperatures have warmed to above 75F.


Use cedar, oak bark chips or gravel chips which will irritate and dehydrate them.

Try a barrier line or an overall sprinkle of powdered ginger.

Use wood ashes as a barrier around plants; however try not to let the plant come into contact with the ashes. The ashes act as a desiccant and dry the slugs up.

Sandpaper: Get rid of slugs in the infested area then lay a circle of sandpaper around the plants to be protected

Spread well crushed eggshells around the plants. The calcium released from the eggshells is an extra benefit that "sweetens" the soil.

Sprinkle a line of lime around your plants. Obviously this won't work around plants requiring a more acidic soil.

Talcum powder works as a barrier also.

Copper Strips: The use of copper strips as a barrier will give slugs a jolt of electricity. The metal ions in copper are what repel slugs. There are mixed reports on just how effective this is. One good way to try copper strips is to make a circle of the strip around just the plants you want to protect, remove slugs first. Easier too. Copper sulphate and similar copper based products may also work for the barrier method.

Herbs: A mulch made of stems and leaves of strong smelling herbs like wormwood, mints, tansy, lemon balm along with conifer twigs mixed in will help stop slugs and other pests.

Hair and Fur: Use a barrier of hair or fur to entangle slugs. An additional benefit from using hair is that it supplies some nitrogen to your plants! Human hair, pet fur and horsehair will all work.

Prunings: Another possibility could be to use prunings from raspberries, blackberries etc. Anything with fine, sharp spines may help.

Oak Leaves, Lettuce and Cabbage: Using oak leaves as a mulch deters slugs, so does seaweed if you have access to some. Also of interest is that red oak leaf lettuce is not bothered by slugs or snails! Slugs seem not to like any red leaved cabbages or salad leaves

Coffee Grounds: Used coffee grounds spread around susceptible plants may work.

Epsom Salts: Epsom salts sprinkled on the soil will supposedly deter slugs and also helps prevent magnesium deficiency in your plants. Magnesium helps to deepen colour, thickens petals and increases root structure.

Oat Bran: Scatter oat bran on the soil to kill slugs and snails. (Not sure about this one!)

Grit: Try barriers of grit, which has a sharp texture.

Nut Shells: Ground shells of filberts, pecans and walnuts may work.

Cocoa Hulls: Cocoa shell mulch may work as a slug deterrent as well as supplying nitrogen to the soil as it breaks down and it suppresses weeds too! Warning: Dogs may be attracted to and can eat cocoa hulls that can be fatal!

Rosemary: Sprigs of rosemary scattered around repel slugs

Pine Needles: Try a mulch of pine needles, it works well around strawberry plants.

Plants slugs generally dislike:

Artemisias Day lilies Freesia Lemon balm Red cabbage
Alyssum Jerusalem cherry Garlic Lungwort Red oak leaf lettuce
Azaleas Daffodils Grapes Mint Rosemary
Basil Evergreens Ginger Parsley Sage
Corn Fennel Holly Peruvian lily Tansy
Cosmos Foxglove Hibiscus Pumpkin Sunflower
Chard Fuschia    

Plants like chicory and endive are virtually slug proof.


Predators of slugs include: Beetles, toads, frogs,

Birds: Blackbirds, crows, ducks, jays, owls, robins, seagulls, starlings and thrushes, The appeal factor to all these creatures is due the fact that slugs are pure protein.

Nematodes: There is also a predatory nematode, Phasmarhabditas hermaphrodita that is effective against slugs. They are watered onto the soil and will kill slugs for up to six weeks. The water and nematodes leach down into the soil where 90 percent of slug populations live. It is this underground population of slugs that the nematodes attack and kill. The nematodes should be applied anytime between April and October when the temperatures are milder for the best control. Soil must be kept on the moist side for the nematodes to live.

Slug Trap Methods

Trap Crops: Use beans, horseradish leaves, comfrey leaves, calendula, lettuce, marigolds, and zinnias as a trap crop for slugs.

Cabbage Trap: Cook cabbage leaves until soft, drizzle some butter or lard over them. Place them in slug prone areas. Within several hours the leaves will be swarming with slugs. Collect and destroy.

Dog Food: Using dry dog food draws slugs like flies. Simply take dry dog food and put enough water on it to make it slightly soft. Place it in piles in slug-infested areas. Check later in the evening and dispose of bait and slugs however you want.

Beer or yeast traps: Traditional traps that seem to work well for some and not at all for others. Sink containers of beer or yeast and water  at one inch above ground level in the garden to entice and drown your prey. Empty traps as needed. For the yeast trap use one package of yeast to 8 ounces of water. Mixing rum extract with water may work also. Prop some "escape" twigs in the containers so beetles can climb out.

Grape Juice: A new rendition on the beer trap is to use grape juice. For some reason slugs really have a taste for this. Use just as you would in the beer method and buy the cheapest grape juice you can find!

Honey-Yeast Bait: Here is another mixture for sunken traps to try: In your container mix together the following ingredients: 1 tbsp. of brewers yeast, 1 tbsp. honey, 1 tbsp. cooking oil and 12 ounces of water.

Beer Batter Bait: Mix 2 tablespoons of flour with enough beer to make a thick batter. Put 1 teaspoon of this in a small paper cup and lay the cups on their sides around your plants. Slugs will flock to this, get snared in the flour and die. When the trap is full toss the whole thing in the compost pile.

Slick Containers: Try filling the sunken containers with soapy water or simply grease the insides with petroleum jelly so they can't slime back out.

Gutter Trap: Place sections of guttering in slug prone areas. Rub them with a bar of soap to coat the insides that will trap the slugs. Empty regularly into a bucket of soapy water to kill the slugs.

Pop Bottle Traps: Make traps to collect slugs out of those 2 litre plastic pop bottles. Cut the bottle in half. Invert the top part into the bottom part to create a no escape entryway. Be sure to leave enough leeway where the top of the bottle is for the slugs to enter. To up the stakes put one of the above baits in to your trap.

Veggie Baits: More baits you can try are lettuce, cabbage, turnips and sliced potatoes.

Comfrey (Symphytum peregrinum): This perennial is a preference of slugs and can be used as a trap. Comfrey is considered to be an invasive plant, however it has so many uses for the garden and medicinally that it is worth having around. Comfrey has more protein in it's leaves than any other vegetable perhaps explaining its appeal to slugs. This can also be tried with horseradish leaves.

Technique: In early spring pick a bunch of comfrey leaves and allow them to wilt. Place them in the centre of the planting area.  Slugs will come en-mass to the pile networking more slugs every evening. After about a week remove as many of the slugs from the pile of leaves and dump them into a bucket of soapy water. Dispose of them. Allow the remaining slugs to build up in the pile for a few more days then dispose of the whole mess by incorporating it into your compost pile. After this you can place a barrier trap of comfrey leaves in a border around your garden to trap any migrating slugs that are left. When sufficient control has been reached, again compost what is left.

Use overturned grapefruit or orange rinds for them to collect under during the day. Squash the whole thing and throw it in the compost pile.

Scraps of wet carpet spread around the garden will draw slugs like a magnet! Scrape off and reuse.

Old pieces of flat lumber are a good trap too. Reuse until the lumber starts to fall apart, then recycle it further by adding to the compost pile.