Dealing With Slugs & Snails

Controlling slugs and snails.  Barefoot lifeNext to aphids, I think slugs and snails are the most hated garden pests. But, believe it or not, there are some benefits to having them in your yard.

– They provide food for birds, frogs, lizards and hedgehogs
– They help with decomposition of organic matter
– Their faeces add nitrogen to the soil
– They eat the eggs of other insects

The answer is to keep their numbers down and, as they prefer fresh green leaves to dead and decaying ones, you want to ban them from your veggie patch. Although Hadedahs are unpopular with many people, they are one of the best controls for slugs and snails. I have 3 who spend most of the day in my garden and I have no snail problems. Chickens will eat them too, but I find they eat more seedlings than the snails do!


If you do have too many, and nothing is eating them, there are quite a few ways to get rid of them.

  • Put crushed egg shells around the plants
  • Sprinkle snails and slugs with salt
  • Make a border of salt around the vegetable beds
  • Make an overnight bait
  • Make a beer trap
  • Use the captured snails to make a ‘family bug juice’
  • Shred wire wool and make a ‘fence’ around the beds
  • Go out at night with a torch and pick them off the plants

Beer Trap

  • Place a shallow bowl into the ground, so the rim is level with the soil.
  • Fill it with beer.
  • Slugs and snails love beer so they will crawl in and drown.

Overnight Bait

  • In the evening loosely layer any of the following on the soil
  • 2 or 3 lettuce or cabbage leaves, potato peelings, sawdust, 2 bread slices
  • Early in the morning lift the bait and pick off the slugs and snails
  • Dump them into a bucket of boiling water
  • Either discard the water or make ‘bug family juice’

Bug Family Juice

  • Collect dead snails and put them in a bucket of water
  • Loosely cover the bucket and leave to ferment for a week
  • Strain off the water, throw the snails into the compost or bury them in the garden
  • Use the water to spray over any living snails or in areas that they frequent

(This recipe works for any type of pest.  Only use one type of insect per batch)

If you do have an infestation of snails, the methods above will help.  But, if there are only a few and they aren’t doing too much damage, please leave them and let your mini eco-system thrive as Mother Nature intended.

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