Are Slugs good in Gardens? 9 Ways to get rid of slugs


 Are you wondering, are slugs good in gardens? 9 Natural ways to remove slugs.

slug eating a  garden leaf

If your garden creates an environment that increases the slug population during the growing season, you’ll likely want to step in and do something about them.

I currently live in the high desert where we have VERY DRY weather and we don’t get a ton of slugs. There are some, but they aren’t as much as a pest as the grasshoppers are.

Before living in the high desert I have gardened in several different places around the United States. And let me tell you, I have never seen more slugs than when I gardened along the east coast.

I’m guessing it is similar along the pacific northwest. If you have a lot of wet rainy days then you might see more slugs!

​About Slugs

I am one who will do what I can to protect my garden but I also am mindful of the ecosystem and how each creature has a place.

Slugs have a place in the food chain and can prevent an overpopulation of small invertebrates. That being said if you have a large population of slugs then they may eat too many of the beneficial bugs that will help your garden.

Especially adult slugs, they can do a lot of damage to your garden and the beneficial bug population. Be mindful of this as you choose what method you want to use your slugs for.

I list nine different ways to help control the slug population in your garden. If you are a trying to improve your self sufficiency or create a more permaculture environment then TIP NUMBER 8 is my favorite!

Are slugs good in my garden?

slug eating a cabbage leaf in the garden

For the most part, NO. As I mentioned before, they will help control the overpopulation of small invertebrate bugs, but they will also destroy your garden, leafy greens, young seedlings, vulnerable plants, and anything you have growing in flower pots.

Garden slugs are attracted to the garden and what the garden environment creates. If you are finding a lot of damage to the leaves of your garden, then you may have a slug problem.

How do I know if slugs are in my garden?

Your vegetable garden is a great food source for slugs, but how do you know if slugs are in your garden? Well, there are a few good signs to know if you have a slug problem.

potted flower pot with slug crawling on the outside leaving a limy slug trail
  • Slime trails (slugs leave a glossy trail behind them as they move around)
  • Plant damage that removes entire leaves or sections of plants
  • You have a very moist environment in your garden
  • Find them: look for them in the evening time or early mornings before the sun comes down on your garden. Find the damaged plant and look all around the leaves. 

10 Natural Ways to remove slugs

Early spring I like to do a check with my garden. I look around leaves, check roots and other parts of plants.

If I find a pest during this time of year, I can usually take care of the problem before it becomes too big for me to handle.

Anytime you see destructive pests in your garden, catching them early will give you a better chance at having success.

If you start seeing slimy trails around your garden then check out these natural ways to remove slugs from your garden! Pick the best one for you and let me know what has worked for you! 

woman sitting in her garden with words how to set up your garden on the page

​1) change the way you water

​The way you water your garden might be what is bringing the slugs. Water your garden in the morning. Watering at night creates a wet environment that will attract the slugs when they are most active.

Moist soil at evening time is what they prefer as it doesn’t dry out very quickly. Another great way to lower your slug population is by switching from overhead watering to some kind of drip irrigation.

If you can’t fork out the money for a drip system, then try watering your garden at the soil level. Just soaking the soil and not the plants.

I know, I know, but what if you live somewhere where it rains nonstop for days on end… That was us in Virginia, it would rain for weeks. If this is you, then great, you don’t have to water your garden as often, but yes, you my get more slugs.

This natural way to remove slugs from your garden will not work for you. 

2) Beer Traps

I will be the first to admit, I haven’t tried using actual beer, but I have experimented with a yeast mixture trying to achieve the same purpose. Snails are attracted to the yeasty smell.

Put beer or your yeast mixture into a container and place it into the soil in your garden. It will attract the slugs and they will go into the container.

They usually will die off by drowning. I haven’t found this to be my favorite where I lived, but it may work for you. Try it and see! Let me know what you think.

3) copper tape

potted garden plants on a balcony

You can purchase copper tape and place it around your garden. The slugs are attracted to it and become captured by this tape.

The snails will likely need to be hand removed with this method. This is a great option around potted plants or raised beds.

If you have a huge inground garden, this option might not be the best for you.

4)Cardboard or newspaper

several folded up pieces of cardboard to be used in the garden to create a slug trap

Snails like moist, dark areas to use as hiding places. Place some cardboard or newspaper on the ground in various places around your garden.

Spray them with water to make them moist. Do this process in the evening time. In the morning lift the cardboard or paper and you will most likely find a few slugs hiding under there.

I like to do this a few nights in a row. I will pick off the slugs and remove them from the garden. If you don’t want to touch the slug you can remove your board or paper and use new ones for the next round.

5)Avoid heavy mulching

woman's bare feet standing in her garden

Mulching is a great way to add nutrients back into the soil and improves soil quality. It also keeps the soil moist. Mulching creates great hiding spots around the slugs.

If you have a lot of mulch or plant material at the base of or around your garden, this may be the culprit of attracting slugs.

You will have to weigh out the pros and cons of mulch in this situation. If you still want to mulch your garden, then try to clean up the area around your garden. 

6) deterrents

Some natural organic deterrents are:

7)Organic slug baits or traps

8) Ducks

mother ducks with her baby ducklings eating slugs from a garden

Ducks are a natural pest control option for more than a slug problem. People often talk about chickens eating bugs in the garden, but a chicken will scratch up your garden and do a lot of damage.

Ducks don’t scratch up plants and will eat slugs! BE CAREFUL. I would NOT let ducks roam the garden 24/7.

Though they don’t scratch up the plants, but they will step on plants. So make sure you have well established plants before sending your ducks into the garden.

My best suggestion would be to have a separate location for your ducks to live. Then let them into the well established garden for part of the day to eat pests and slugs and then return them back to their duck house!

This is my favorite option as it is feeding your ducks, cutting down on feed costs, you are getting eggs from them AND getting pests out of your garden. Win, win!

9) Electric fence

There are electric fences out there that are made small and has a less powerful electric shock for pests like slugs.

In my opinion, it seems like a lot of work for slug removal, but if it is the only thing that works, it may be your best option

Let me know your best method for removing slugs from your garden! I really want to know, different places need different methods.

Other gardening tip!

Soil blocks with capillary mats for indoor seed starting

Growing herbs

Garden pizza recipe!

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