Slugs are a devastating garden pest. Here’s how to get rid of slugs before they get a chance to wreak havoc on your garden.
By The Editors of Yankee Magazine
Jan 19 2017
Slugs are a garden pest that can do quite a number on plants as they chomp their way through your yard. They have a special fondness for hosta leaves, but will also attack flowers and vegetables, so it’s best to banish them from your property as quickly as possible. These simple pest solutions will show you how to get rid of slugs in your garden before it’s too late.
Mike Shadrack, a garden lecturer who divides his time between England and New York State, loves to inspire new hosta collectors. Unfortunately, slugs love to turn hosta leaves into a holey mess. Thus Mike offers his converts a well-refined method for killing slugs efficiently:
He tells gardeners, “Just dress up for an evening out and catch the slimy fellows — or at least scare them.” Mike’s slug-catching outfit begins with a battery-powered headlamp (a headband or cap with a flashlight attached; available from sporting goods stores), which allows you to keep your hands free. Next, don rubber boots: They keep your feet dry, they’re good for squishing slugs on the path, and they wash off easily afterward. The third element of the costume is barbecue tongs, which extend your reach for grabbing slugs off foliage. Once you’re in gear, grab a plastic bag and head out to the garden to collect slugs. When the hunt is over, don’t fuss with dumping the slugs into a bucket of soapy water to kill them. Instead, just seal the bag with a tight knot and put it in the garbage.
To keep slugs out of your garden, fill shallow dishes with beer (the cheap stuff will do) and place them in the garden with the rims flush to the ground. When the slugs go to drink the beer, they’ll drown.
If you have access to seashells, try crushing them and spreading them around plants as a deterrent to slugs. As an added bonus, the shells can help to balance the pH of the soil and infuse into it beneficial minerals, like calcium.
This post was originally published in 2015 and has been updated.