Slugs and Snails

Manage Slugs & Snails Naturally

Handpick slugs and snails. Flower pots turned upside down or boards placed on the ground make good cool, dark hiding places for slugs. A few evening or early morning "raids" can keep their numbers low. Drop them into a jar of soapy water, or use snip or squish methods.

Use simple traps. Beer or yeast traps can help, but must be covered to keep out rain and refilled every few days. Try making a trap out of a deli container with a lid, cutting window-shaped holes in the sides and half submerging in the garden bed so the bottom of the window is at soil level and the beer is below ground surface.

Destroy egg masses. In the fall, look for and destroy pearly clusters of eggs under garden debris.

Use barriers. Install copper tape or copper foil around pots and planting boxes.

Use pesticides as a last resort

Many baits contain metaldehyde which is poisonous to dogs and cats. Some baits may also contain carbaryl, which is toxic to beneficial insects and fish. If you use these, use a tamper-proof bait station to help protect children and pets. A low-hazard bait (containing iron phosphate) used around seedlings when they are young can protect them until they mature and can withstand a little nibbling.

If you decide to use a pesticide, pick a safer product for people, pollinators and the environment by using the product rankings in the Grow Smart, Grow Safe product tables.