Make your own Slug Beer Trap
The beer trap, or ‘slug pub’, has to be the traditional home-made slug deterrent. Perhaps not the most effective methods of slug control but it’s certainly a lot of fun! There’s something sadistically satisfying about having a peek inside next morning and admiring that grimy brew, don’t you think?
To make your own slug pub, simply half bury a glass jar or smooth plastic container in the soil and half fill it with beer. The slug sniffs the brew and, like the rest of us, finds it impossible to resist. He tumbles in and drowns a happy slug.
The slug seems to love a good beer, so he can't be all bad!
Plastic bottle slug trap
A variation of the above beer trap can be made from a plastic bottle. Using scissors or a sharp knife, carefully remove the top third, invert it, and simply insert it into the bottom section. The two parts are held together by piercing a couple of holes through both pieces and secured with a twist of wire or nylon cable ties.
Part fill with fresh beer and part bury as before, and you have yourself a trap that’s very difficult to escape from. You’re also doing your bit for the environment by recycling.
Use this bottle trap idea to make a handy wasp trap too. Instead of beer, mix a solution of water and sugar or honey, with a dash of washing up liquid. If the opening is too large, replace the cap and pierce a small hole. Stand it upright, or hang it from a tree branch.
Always keep the rim of your beer trap raised 2-3cm (1”) above the level of the ground to prevent other beneficial creatures toppling in too. One such good guy is the ground beetle. It probably devours more slugs than any beer trap will catch, so it would be foolish to drown it as well.
If you’re still concerned about other insects falling in, offer them an escape route by popping in a few small twigs. Don’t worry; the slug will be too tipsy to use them!
Another good idea is to cover your trap with something like a piece stone, raised just enough for the slug to crawl beneath. I think that make it look more of a natural garden feature, and prevents it from filling with water when it rains. Diluted beer doesn’t have the same appeal somehow.
Which beer works best
Fresh beer seems to work best... well, do you like the thought of stale beer? Some people report that darker brews – like Stout or Guinness – are the most effective.
It’s the scent from fermenting yeast that attracts the slug, so if the thought of wasting good beer is just too distressing, an equally potent attractant can be concocted from:
- 2 cups of warm water
- 2 tablespoons of flour
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- ½ teaspoon of yeast
- ...and mix well
What about milk
Some people find milk an effective substitute for beer, and it might be worth a try. It certainly appeals to the tea-total slug! However, please don’t be tempted to leave the trap uncovered to provide a tasty hedgehog ready meal of ‘slug and milk’. Hedgehogs will drink milk but it makes them ill.
The Slug-X beer trap
If you prefer the convenience of a ready made beer trap, one of the best on the market is the Slug-X. A strong smell builds up inside, luring slugs and snails by an aroma they find irresistible! Once inside they become disorientated and fall into one of three wells. Others use it as a shelter and can simply be disposed of.
Unlike other beer trap designs that need to be semi buried, the Slug-X is fully portable and can be moved around the garden. It’s equally effective when used on patios and decking.
The Slug-X has won a number of ‘Best Buy’ commendations in press articles about slug control, and independent testers from The Daily Telegraph caught 147 slugs in just one night! It really does work.
Quirky slug trap
What about this cute little ornamental snail? I think he looks great nestling in the border.
Simply top him up with beer and place him among your plants.
A few beer traps protecting small groups of plants can be effective, but a larger area would need at least one every metre. As the liquid needs to be replenished every few days, that’s an awful lot of beer!
What do you want to do now
Slug-X Beer Trap
One of the most effective slug traps on the market.
- Uses beer – completely harmless to other wildlife.
- Features three wells and four funnelled access points.
- Several Best Buy awards in press articles about slug control.
- Made from recycled polypropylene.
British gardeners use over 400 billion slug pellets every year
Over 200 years of gardening history
Suttons specialise in seeds, bulbs, and plug plants, plus a range of other gardening equipment.