16 Natural Ways To Defeat Garden Slugs

I love all creatures great and small. Except slugs in my garden.

Those slimy gastropods that not only gross me out, but they take large bites out of tender seedlings and shoots, devouring my precious plants. For that reason, all slugs must die, but in a natural way.

Here are 16 non-toxic (to humans) ways to kill garden slugs.

Cut Slugs

1. Cornmeal: Place a handful of cornmeal in a jar, and lay it on its side in the garden. Slugs will like the scent, slither in, and die.

2. Coffee Grounds: Spread coffee grounds around plants. Not only will the grounds damage slug bellies, but they will nourish your soil as well.

3. Egg Shells: Eggshell shards ringing your plants will stop slugs in their slimy tracks.

4. Dried Pine Needles: Dried pine needs make a great mulch that cuts slugs where they crawl. Spread it throughout the garden, and watch it rot into food for your soil.

5. Diatomaceous Earth: Place these granules of dead, microscopic creatures around plants to form a rough barrier that slugs can’t breach. Warning: The power can irritate eyes, so wear glasses or goggles, and don’t spread when it’s windy.

Dry Out or Dissolve Slugs

6. Salt: Salt dries up slugs eating your container plants. Ring pots with salt, making sure the salt doesn’t get near the drainage hole. I wouldn’t use salt in the garden, because it can harm soil and plants.

7. Seaweed: Seaweed is double trouble for slugs. Not only will the salt in seaweed harm slugs, but it dries into a rough layer that cuts slugs, too. Spread it around, but not touching, plants at least 3 inches high.

8. Vinegar: Is there anything vinegar isn’t good for? Mix equal parts vinegar and water, and spray the solution on slugs you’ve collected. It will dissolve the pests, but it can also harm plants. So isolate the slugs before you soak them in vinegar.

9. Coffee: Caffeine is a proven slug killer. Spray coffee on their soft bodies, and the neurotoxic caffeine destabilizes their heart rate.

Seduce Slugs

10. Leftover Beer: I’d never open a can of Bud just for the slugs, but instead of pouring leftover brewski down the drain, I pour it in a cup or bowl with high sides and place it in a hole just above the surface of the soil. Slugs follow the scent of beer, fall into the beer pool, and drown.

11. Dog/Cat Kibble: Slugs like pet food. Use it to lure the mollusks into traps, like a clay pot with one edge slightly raised, or a turned-over, disposable pie tin with a couple of holes cut into its side. Set the trap at night when slugs come out to eat, and toss the prisoners to the wild birds in the morning.

More Slug Destruction Tips

12. Attract Birds: Birds love to chow down on slugs, so welcome these flyers with open arms. Place birdbaths, and hang feeders and nesting gourds in your garden to attract these slug terminators.

13. Water in the A.M.: Slugs love moisture and are most active at night. So water your garden in the morning, so the soil is dry and less inviting when the slugs come out to eat.

14. Pluck at Night: If you can stand touching the slimy things, take a flashlight out to the garden at night and pluck slugs from plants.

15. Human Hair: When you clean combs and brushes, collect the hair and spread it around plants. Slugs will tangle themselves in the hair and suffocate. Both slug and hair will decompose and feed your garden.

16. Got Ducks? Let them loose in your garden to eat slugs all day.




Mary T
Mary T1 years ago

thanks for sharing

Melania Padilla
Melania P3 years ago

Great post, just don't kill them please. Sharing

Geoff P.
Geoff P4 years ago

Ducks might love slugs they also love tender lettuce and other leafy goodies.

Darren Woolsey
Darren Woolsey4 years ago

This link contains some useful information about slugs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slug

One thing I didn't know about them is: Slugs are hermaphrodites, having both female and male reproductive organs.

They are also a source of food supply for virtually every other major vertebrate group, so removing them from your garden just because you don't like them, is removing a food source for other creatures.

Anne P.
Anne P4 years ago

Ugh - as a vegan, I am repelled by these cruel ways to kill slugs, which have a right to survive just like all other garden creatures. I found some tips for non-lethal slug control on the web:

1. Slugs avoid crawling over anything dry, dusty or scratchy, such as lime, diatomaceous earth, cinders, coarse sawdust, gravel, sand, bark dust or coffee grounds.

2. Epson salts sprinkled on the soil will help deter slugs and also help prevent magnesium deficiency in your plants.

3. Spray plants with a solution of vinegar and water. Also removes slug slime.

4. Spread table salt around your plants. Salt dries slugs out so they won’t go near it.

5. Collect human, dog, or cat hair and put around your plants. Not only will the slugs not go on it, but it will also keep a lot of the little critters away also.

6. When you find a slime trail, destroy the track so other slugs do not follow.

7. Slugs hate the strong smell of mint, chives, garlic, geraniums, foxgloves and fennel. Plant these around the edge of your garden to deter slugs. These plants also discourage Japanese beetles.

8. Plants that are resistant to slugs include phlox, campanula, hererocallis, and mentha.

9. Put stone paths along your flower beds.

10. Use a biodegradable paper towel to remove slugs from your garden plants. The towel acts like a magnet and the slug will adhere to the paper. Move the sluggy towel to another part of the garden.

11. If you find slugs in your potted

John chapman
John chapman4 years ago

I've heard that flat beer will attract, & kill them.

But I've never had any.

Flat beer, that is.

I've got more than enough slugs.

Alexandra G.
Alexandra G4 years ago

thanks for good information

Lisa Millar
Past Member 4 years ago


larry Coffey
larry Coffey4 years ago

is there no way to simply drive them off??? poisoning, suffocating, disolving, etc... it all seems vicious and like bad karma to me... is there no other way???

Marian A.
Marian Austin4 years ago

Like the beer method myself