More Ways to Kill a Slug

More ways to rid your garden of a few more slugs, and unlike poisoned pellets, these methods are completely natural and won’t endanger other birds and animals.

Pinch of salt

Glass salt shaker

Pinch of salt

Slugs and salt simply don’t mix!

Some people use the manual method of slug collection (see below) then dump their haul into a container of salt water. Alternatively, if you’re of a more sadistic nature, you could go out into the garden on a wet evening and sprinkle a pinch of salt onto each slug you encounter, then watch it writhe in agony.

Personally, I find this rather a cruel method, but I suppose when enough treasured plants are turned to lace, a person can become very vindictive.

Wise precaution

Just like the slug, salt and most garden plants also don’t mix, so be sure to keep any salt away from them.

Beer trap

Cartoon of a sozzled slug holding up a beer can

Party time!

Like the rest of us, the slug loves a good pint!

Half fill a container with beer and sink it into the soil. Be sure to leave the rim 2-3cm (1”) above ground level to prevent other insects like the beneficial ground beetle from toppling in too. Pop in a couple of twigs as an escape route, just in case.

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.

Slug-X slug and snail trap
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Oatmeal feast

Small pile of oats


Slugs seem to love raw cereals; in fact, it’s used as an attractant in traditional slug pellets. You know how a bowl of porridge swells up when mixed with fluid? Well, a similar thing happens inside the slug, with predictably unpleasant consequences!

The dry cereal is also very absorbent and it dehydrates the slug, making it hard to slime away. So one way or another it provides a fat – and safe – treat for the birds next morning.

The only problem with using something like oatmeal is it can be easily ruined by rain or blown away by wind, so use this method when the weather is favourable, and be prepared to replenish.

Wise precaution

Don’t pack oats too tightly around plant stems. It could cause damage if it gets wet and swells.


Completely harmless to humans, birds and animals, and perfectly safe around food crops, nematodes are naturally occurring micro-organisms already present in your soil. It just needs greater numbers to take on and defeat the average garden’s insatiable slug population.

Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita nematodes are a natural slug parasite. They infect the slug, which stops eating and dies within a week. The nematodes then move on to infect more slugs and the cycle continues for 6-8 weeks, by which time your plants are probably hardy enough to withstand a little slug nibbling. If not, simply apply another treatment; it’s impossible to overdo.

Although most slugs die out of sight below ground, any that are eaten by other creatures are totally harmless to them.

Nemaslug – nematode slug killer

Nemaslug pack

Nemaslug – Slug Killer

Nematodes are living organisms that need careful storage, which is why you don’t see them on the shelves at the garden centre. Instead, you need to order them direct from an approved supplier like Harrod Horticultural, who incidentally offer a good range of other garden products too.

Nemaslug is the brand you’ll find in the UK, and it’s available in two pack sizes:

  • Small Pack – Up to 40m² (50yd²)
  • Large Pack – Up to 100m² (125yd²)

The small Nemaslug pack contains around 12 million nematodes, the large around 30 million. Don’t ask me how they count them!

Nemaslug slug killer
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Hand picking method

Not for the faint hearted! When you go out into the garden after dark and it’s damp, you’ll be amazed just how many slugs you see sliming around. A sharpened stick, scissors, a heavy boot; just let your imagination run wild...

Alternatively, simply gather them all up in a container and dispose of them using one of the many methods you’ll find on this site.

Good idea

Why not offer the kids a little extra pocket money to go out into the garden and see who can gather the most slugs and snails?

Even more ways to kill a slug

50 Ways to Kill a Slug: book cover

50 Ways to Kill a Slug

Has your delphinium been devoured?
Has your lettuce lost its leaves?
Are you sick of losing the battle?

Then I think 50 Ways to Kill a Slug by Sarah Ford is just what you’ve been looking for.

This humorous little book gives you 50 alternative and pellet-free ways to make your garden a slug-free zone.

50 Ways to Kill a Slug
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More books about slugs

What do you want to do now

Organic Slug Killer

Nemaslug slug killer

The perfect choice for the ecological gardener who hates using chemicals and poisons in the garden.

Up to two months slug protection from a single application.

Harmless to birds, animals, and children. Safe to use on food crops. Dead slugs are non-toxic to other creatures.

Nemaslug slug killer
Find out more

Did you

A cubic metre of garden will on average contain up to 200 slugs

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