Keeping Snails and Slugs Away From Your Garden

Slugs and snails are formidable foes with their nocturnal eating habits and their offensive slimy characteristics. Just one slug in a garden can do major damage with their 27,000 teeth munching away at your favorite garden plants. Here are 6 ways to keep them out of your garden.

Beer or Bakers Yeast Mixed with Fruit Juice

This is an affordable option as well as a highly effective one. The snails and slugs are attracted to the smell of the yeast like a cat to catnip. Simply fill a small lid, something like a discarded Tupperware lid or plastic coffee can lid and place on the ground in an area of frequent visitation. The slugs and snails will crawl into the lid and drown.

You will have to monitor the lid for cleaning out the dead slugs and refreshing the bait.


Tiny eelworms can be purchased at a local garden store. They come in a clay-type base and can be kept in the refrigerator indefinitely. Once needed you simply mix with with water according to the manufactures instructions then water your plants topically with the mix. The eelworms will stick to the plants and the slugs will unknowingly ingest them and poison themselves.


Cooper-coated tape comes in many lengths of up to 32 feet, and can be cut to size. It's perfect for wrapping out the base of pots or attaching to your garden border. It provides a shock to the snails and slugs as they try to cross the tape. Rather than killing snails and slugs, it is a very effective repellent that will work for several years.


This a commercial product and uses the same type bait as the beer and fruit mix but in powder form. Rather than having to clean the dead creatures out, as with the drowning method, this product provides a disposable trap system. It will catch up to 20 slugs before you need to replace it. Simply throw away the full trap, without needing to touch any slugs, and place a new trap in its place.


These are similar to the copper tape product but are plastic rings that fit around pots and plants in the garden. It's designed to not allow the slug to crawl very far up the guard before it is forced to fall off.


These are organic elements that scratch and dry up the snail and slug when attempting to cross. Crushed eggshells, pine needles, coffee grinds, fire place ashes, sand and lime will all work well. Create a small ring around your garden, about a 1/2 inch deep, using any one of these items. The ring will have to be replenished frequently, especially after a rain. It may prove be more work than it is worth.


You can also protect your garden by:

  • Visiting your garden immediately after a rain and gathering them up.
  • Keeping your garden picked up. Accumulated leaves and debris left to lie in the garden is a welcome mat for sheltering slugs.
  • Making your garden predatory friendly. Garden snakes, toads, turtles, ducks and chickens all love slugs and snails.
  • Churning up slug zones frequently with a fork so the predators can find them easier.