7 Effective Ways to Get Rid of Slugs and Snails
Slugs and snails are typically found in every garden and could do some damage to your crops and plants, although the severity of the damage could really depend on the type of slug or snail that you are dealing with. In this article, you can learn about several types of slugs and snails commonly found in the garden, how they typically live, and seven natural methods you could try to get rid of their presence.
How to Get Rid of Snails & Snugs
1. Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous Earth is basically the fossilized remains of sea organisms (in powder form). Slugs and snails don’t like it. The powder may feel like flour to us but they are sharp when you look at it on a microscopic level. Any slugs or snails that come in contact with the powder can eventually dehydrate and die. Keep in mind, however, that the powder isn’t effective when wet so you have to be somewhat strategic about applying it. Click here to learn more about Diatomaceous Earth.
2. Create a beer trap
Apparently, slugs aren’t all that different to humans when it comes to appreciating alcohol. Setting up a beer trap can attract the slugs via the scent of yeast and if they reach too far into the cup then they will drop in and drown. Keep in mind, however, that there are several limitations to using this method. First, as you will see with this video, some slugs simply take a sip and head off. Second, it’s important to leave the rim of the trap a few inches above the soil or else the trap will also catch natural predators of slugs like beetles. Last but not least, this trap only works within a short radius so this method is better reserved for gardeners working on small patches. That said, the limitations should not stop you from trying to get those pesky slugs drunk and on their way to doom.
3. Introduce Beneficial Bugs
As we mentioned in #1, there are some good bugs out there that will help you do the job of eradicating the slimy slugs. These bugs are most often referred to as beneficial insects. Not only do they eat the pests, they also do you an additional flavor by leaving your valuable crops alone. Natural predators of slugs that are considered beneficial insects include ground beetles and marsh flies. If you have a pond in your backyard then it may also help to have some frogs around.
4. Use Companion Plants
There are certain plants that deter slugs and snails. An effective way to deter the slugs and snails from roaming your garden is to grow these plants around and in-between your valuable crop. Plants you may want to consider include: hydrangeas, lavender, sage, yucca, creeping thyme, rosemary, and mints.
5. Hiding Place Traps
Slugs love to take shelter under certain objects like wooden planks, stones, and newspaper. The idea is to strategically place these objects around your garden at night when the slugs and snails are most active. By the next morning, you should have plenty of slugs and snails chilling in your makeshift shelter. The next step is to simply scrape them off and discard them.
6. Apply Vinegar Spray
Vinegar solution can be an effective home remedy to get rid of slugs and snails. This can work hand-in-hand with the hiding place traps method. As mentioned in #5, set up a wooden board at night so the slugs and snails can accumulate. The next morning, check your board for any unwanted customers and spray them with vinegar solution. Make sure you don’t get any of the solution on the plants themselves.
7. Set up a Grapefruit Trap
Slugs love grapefruits. This method is similar to #5 and works great if you are a grapefruit lover. Cut the grapefruit in halves and empty out the good portion for you to consume. Once all the goodies have been taken out, place the grapefruit halves upside down in your garden and leave them there overnight. The next morning, you should have hopefully captured some slugs and snails in the grapefruit trap. Simply take the trap and either throw it away or leave it somewhere in the garden where the birds or other natural predators can enjoy a mighty feast.
Common Types of Slugs & Snails
Before you go ahead and try one of the seven natural methods above, it may help to be able to first identify the types of slugs and snails you are dealing with. Common types of slugs include the garden slug, field slug, black slug, and the keel slug. Out of the four, the garden slug is typically the smallest. Unfortunately, their size doesn’t equate to their appetite as garden slugs are known devour anything in its way. Garden slugs can be identified by their blackish body and a pale side. The field slug is also small in size and has a voracious appetite. Unlike the garden slug, the field slug usually has a grey appearance and typically feeds on the surface of plants.
When it comes to snails, you are most likely going to encounter species like the garden snail. Referred to as Helix aspersa, the garden snail has a brownish body and typically has a cream-colored shell. Garden snails are most active at night and hibernate during the winter months. They feed on a variety of plants including fruits and crop vegetables so it is in your best interest to get rid of these snails as soon as you see signs of them appearing in your garden.