Getting Rid Of Slugs Without Poison

Learn how to control a slug problem in your garden without using dangerous pesticides.

Slugs are common garden pests that thrive in moist conditions. If you have a slug problem you will see their slimy trails throughout your garden beds and you may notice damage to your plants as the slugs feed on their roots and leaves. There are many commercial pesticides that will kill slugs but they can be dangerous to the wildlife that eat the slugs and poisonous pesticides are not desirable for use in vegetable gardens. Fortunately there are a few safe ways you can get rid of your slimy, uninvited guests.

Since slugs are essentially snails without shells they need to protect their vulnerable bodies from the sun. Slugs will usually feed in the early morning hours or at night. During the day slugs can be found hiding under low branches, rocks, boards, and leaves. One way to get rid of slugs is to hand pick them from your garden and put them into a pail. Turn up any stones and look underneath your plants. Sprinkling salt on the slugs will cause them to melt and you can dispose of them without worrying that they will return. Keep your leaves raked up to minimize hiding places for slugs.

Beer traps are another non-poisonous way to get control of a slug problem. For some reason slugs find beer irresistible. Take cans that have just a couple of inches of beer in the bottom of them and bury them to the lip in your garden. The slugs will fall into the beer and become trapped. You should change the beer every few days to keep the smell fresh. Another way to use beer traps is to fill shallow dishes with beer and scatter them about your garden. Empty the traps every couple of days and replace with fresh beer.

Putting sharp substances around your plants is a good way to keep them free of slugs. Slugs have soft bodies and do not like to crawl over sharp things. You can sprinkle broken eggshells or pine needles around your plants and these will provide a good mulch and fertilizer for your soil as well as keeping the slugs away.

If you put a few leaves of lettuce out in your garden bed at night you can lure the slugs away from your plants. In the morning you will find the slugs on the lettuce leaves and you can dispose of them. You can also put a wooden board in your garden and the slugs will hide under it during the day and you can turn it over and dispose of them.

Another safe method for repelling slugs is copper tape. Slugs' bodies react with an electrical jolt when they touch copper. Put copper tape around your vulnerable plants and the slugs will not cross over it. The copper tape will last a long time and you can pull it up to use again next year. Other barriers that slugs don't like to cross are sand, seaweed, lime and salt. Don't put too much salt around your garden as this can damage your soil and kill your plants.

If you are patient and diligent you can rid your garden of slugs without resorting to dangerous poison. If you can't get them all don't worry. A few slugs in your garden can actually be beneficial to the soil.

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