Slimy trails and ragged edges on plant stems and leaves are signs that slugs or snails have been in your garden. The problem may even go further as the critters can also damage underground tubers and seedlings.
Snails and slugs are a major problem most gardeners face at some point in time. Therefore, as soon as you spot the tell-tale signs, make every effort to get rid of them from your garden.
Here’s how to get rid of slugs and snails naturally.
1. Pick Them Off
This method might be a gross home remedy to stop slugs from eating your plants, but it works.
Wait about an hour or two after the sun goes down, then go look at your garden. Bring a flashlight so you can properly see the offenders.
You don’t need to use your bare hands. We recommend using a pair of tweezers or wearing latex gloves when picking them off.
Slugs are typically active from spring through fall and love cool, damp shaded areas .
Look under plants and any dark/shady areas, such as on the bottom of rocks. This is the best way to find them and pick them off, but you should also look for eggs.
When searching for eggs, keep in mind that they’re brownish-gray, slightly gummy, and coated in a slimy substance. They usually appear in clusters on the soil surface, covered by debris.
There are certain plants these pests are fonder of, including basil, cabbage, strawberries, lettuce, hostas, dahlias, beans, and succulents. As a result, look closely for them around these plants.
2. Beneficial Nematodes
Let’s put it this way, snails and slugs are bad — they are not good for the garden. However, the use of beneficial nematodes is a natural way to kill them.
These nematodes are microscopic, non-segmented roundworms that seek out soil-dwelling insect pests and kill them.
You can purchase beneficial nematodes online. Follow the instructions that come with your order on how to use it.
Both critters love cornmeal; however, when eaten, it expands in their stomach and kills them.
Pour small piles of cornmeal at various locations in your garden. You can also place a jar with cornmeal and lay it on its side for them to crawl in and have their last meal.
4. Table Salt
Table salt is an excellent home remedy to kill slugs and snails instantly.
Sprinkle it directly on these pests. It will absorb their body fluids and dehydrate them to death. Epsom salt works similarly for controlling these pests.
5. Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth works incredibly well for killing these annoying pests. It has sharp, fine edges that will damage their soft bodies.
Sprinkle this organic slug and snail killer around your vegetable garden. However, you will have to reapply after a heavy shower of rain.
6. Safe and Natural Slug Control Products
These are both made of ingredients that are safe for use in your organic garden, as well as around pets and children.
7. Grapefruit Halves
One of the best home remedies for slug prevention is the grapefruit trap. It is a simple trick that many people overlook. First, enjoy a grapefruit!
Next, take the empty peel halves and place them open side down near the plants you’ve seen them destroying. They’ll take the bait and hide underneath.
In the morning, simply remove and feed them to the birds!
8. Put a Trap Down
You can also try a wet piece of wood near the area you see them gathering most often. They’ll likely hide underneath the trap, which makes it easy for you to move them someplace else.
9. Scratchy Surfaces
Another neat method to keep slugs out of the garden and house is laying down rough surfaces. Surround your garden and pots with scratchy surfaces such as sandpaper or crushed eggshells.
You’ll find that the critters leave the garden fairly quickly and stop climbing up your pots.
Of course, this doesn’t kill them and they may come back. However, you can use this method as a first resort to keeping them away before trying other methods.
To make a homemade beer trap for slugs and snails, look for a nice spot where you can bury a container.
Make sure this is close to the affected area of your garden and yard. Now, let the beer get stale and flat then fill the container. You’ll want it about an inch deep.
Next, place the container into the spot and bury it so the rim is level with the ground. The critters are attracted to the smell. Therefore, they’ll then drop in and drown.
Any type of beer will do. This natural slug trap also works great for greenhouses and indoor spaces.
11. Used Coffee Grounds
Caffeine is toxic to slugs snails, which makes this repellent highly effective in getting them to leave your garden.
To get rid of slugs and snails with coffee grounds, sprinkle some around your plants, particularly those that the critters love. Alternatively, make a caffeine spray and douse them.
12. Natural Predators
This is one of the best methods for getting rid of pests in the garden.
Birds that eat slugs include jays, magpies, robins, starlings, and blackbirds. These natural predators also adore pecking at other garden pests, so why not use them to your advantage?
Set up a birdbath or a couple of bird feeders nearby to attract birds. Other natural enemies include toads, turtles, snakes, and chickens.
13. Copper Surfaces
These guys don’t like copper surfaces. Why? Because copper reacts with the slime they secrete , disrupting their nervous system.
Try using copper slug tapes around your flower pots, grow beds, and greenhouse to keep the pests away.
14. Vinegar Solution
Does vinegar kill snails? Yes, it will, and it kills slugs too. However, be careful not to spray directly on plants as the solution might burn them.
To get rid of snails and slugs with vinegar, combine one cup of vinegar with half a cup of water in a spray bottle. When these pests are active, go out and spray them directly.
15. Human Hair Clippings
If you have a local hair salon or barbershop, ask them for some floor sweepings of human hair.
You can place hair around the base of your plants and affected areas of your house to help eliminate or deter snails and slugs. It also works great for potted plants.
How does this work? It’s simple. They will get tangled up in it.
Bonus: the hair will add nitrogen to the soil as it starts to decompose — making your plants even healthier.
16. Garlic Spray
Make a homemade slug repellent spray by blending one bulb of garlic in a liter of water.
Let the mixture stand for about ten minutes. Next, strain and use it to spray your plants and the pests that you see.
Thanks to the allicin produced by the minced garlic, the solution repels slugs and snails. It may even kill them too.
Snails and slugs are annoying, and unfortunately, they’re one of the more difficult pests that attack vegetables in the garden.
The methods above will certainly help. However, keep in mind that the critters are hermaphrodites (female and male), so they can lay many eggs, up to six times per year. Therefore, stop them before there’s an infestation.