Pests & Diseases

Natural Slug Control – 25 Non Toxic Methods

snailsSlug control is an on-going battle for us gardeners, and it seems that you are never quite free of them. What makes them so formidable is that they are hermaphroditic and their eggs can lay dormant in the soil for years. Slugs and snails can destroy foliage faster than the plants can grow. It can be quite a messy business getting rid of them, so here we have a list of 25 non toxic slug control methods.

Natural Slug & Snail Control Available Here

  • Cornmeal – Slugs love it and die shortly after eating it
  • Clear under & around plants (stones, debris etc.)- slugs like to hide out of site during their off hours.
  • Caffeine – diminishes slugs and snails appetites, very effective slug killer, small amount of coffee with water and the slugs dies within 2 days. spray on or around plants or on the slugs themselves.

organic slug bait

  • Iron phosphate – Completely disrupts their digestive system and adds iron into the soil while it’s at it.
  • Garlic based slug control – make a solution and spray on and around plants. Try not to spray on metallic containers as may destroy them in time. Try our Garlic Wonder Organic Pest Spray


  • Nematodes – Contains microscopic beneficial nematodes which aggressively pursue different types of insects and pests. One application releases enough nematodes to control slugs for about six weeks.
  • Use bran instead of salt – Salt ruins the soil and is harmful to alot of wildlife and plants. Use Bran instead, it works as a desiccant (dries slugs/snails out,) and has the same effect as salt. Slugs have a more permeable skin than most other wildlife and are made up of 85-90% water. Salt acting as a desiccant literally sucks the moisture out through the skin, which is what makes it such a great slug killer.
  • Seaweed – place around base of plants, too salty for slugs
  • Change watering strategy – water early so soil is well dried by evening
  • Get some Rove Beetles – Biological pest control, they don’t eat plants they eat slugs.
  • Used coffee grounds and eggshells, sharp stones etc – too rough for slugs/snails, coffee grounds enrich the soil and eggshells also add much needed calcium
  • By hand – catch them on early mornings or late evenings , especially in damp weather

slugs like beer

  • Beer – Slugs like yeast and barley, beer traps etc. A cup with sugar or yeast with hot water will also lure them just as well. The Slug X Beer Trap will trap dozens of slugs and snails every night.
  • Vigorously hoe the soil regularly, – This smashes snails eggs, which can lay dormant for years.
  • Sand, wood chips, gravel etc – slugs will try not to go over it, as it cuts them open
  • Copper strip/copper mesh barrier, or copper coins – gives them a shock and can dry slugs/snails up
  • Red Leaved plants – Slugs tend to avoid red leaved plants, like swiss chard etc.
  • Slugs also avoid: Daffodils, Basil, Chicory, Endive, Fennel, Garlic, Ginger, Lemon Balm, Parsley, Pumpkins, Mint, Sage, Red Cabbage, Rosemary

volcanic rock granules

  • Diatomaceous earth (Insect Dust) – fossilized insect powder, has a rough or abrasive feel to slugs. Safe for pets or children, it has no harmful chemicals. just don’t inhale during application. Perlite volcanic rock granules will do the same job as long as it is placed on the surface around plants.
  • Pine needles – slugs don’t like them because of their acidic content
  • Keep toads and frogs in the garden – Make your garden frog/toad friendly (damp shady spots, water source at ground level). they find snails very tasty and eat alot of them
  • Hair and fur or lint from the tumble dryer – Slugs will get tangled up in the hair and strangle themselves. Also adds nitrogen to the plants.
  • Put a plank of wood or bits of wet carpet between raised beds – slugs will hide from the sun under the wood or carpet. Pick them off during the day.
  • Citrus Rinds – Leave lemon, grapefruit or orange rinds beside affected plants they will attract the slugs
  • Keep Ducks – They love slugs but might also enjoy lettuce plants
  • Ammonia or vinegar – 1 part ammonia to 10 parts water for seedlings and tender young plants, adjust ratio accordingly) – Dissolves slugs and doesn’t burn foliage, adds nitrogen to the soil.
  1. Megmala

    Hi..I am suffering slug problem in my kitchen and living room..no clue where they are coming from.tired of spray salt and also can not apply toxic slug pellets in kitchen.Want some suggestions to get rid of slugs..

    1. admin

      Hi Megmala.
      We have a wildlife and pet friendly slug killer which you may be able to use indoors. Do you have small children at home?

  2. Judith Akhurst

    Hi, You are my “go-to website” – I sit up for hours in the night reading and viewing your articles and videos. Thank you for all your work. Problem – During the day, I noticed that some of our strawberry plants have little brown spots on the leaves. Spotty plants have been removed. What is the disease and can it be treated ? Thanks in advance.

  3. Beryl

    You say slugs avoid daffodils but I’ve just had a miniature daffodil totally demolished over 3 days! And I did destroy one slug I found on it so I know they are the culprits!


    First time I’ve visited your web-page and am really pleased with the range of ‘safe’ snail/slug deterrents – (well, hopefully not for the snails/slugs). Any remedies for removing the pesky critters that are safe for other wildlife are worth trying in my view.

    1. Andrew

      That’s great Alma, thanks. We only offer products on the site that we use or would be happy to use in our own gardens. Best of luck in the battle against slugs!

  5. Anneke

    I feed this adorable stray ginger cat at work and we have a huge problem with slugs. They climb all over the bowls and the food and then the cat refuses to eat. Which method would be the best solution and also cat friendly? The area where the cat eats is covered in tar and there’s no plants around either.

    1. Andrew

      Hi Anneke, what a lucky cat to have found you! You could try catching the slugs in a beer trap or using organic slug pellets. There are some available which are non toxic to cats. You could also try leaving a ring of copper around the cat’s dish. Hope this helps!

  6. Jane M

    Slugs don’t avoid daffodils, mint, parsley or rosemary in my garden! Like your earlier correspondent, I’ve caught them demolishing all these plants. I too thought they didn’t like aromatics, but they’ve certainly developed a taste for them here in East London!

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