7 Quick and Effective Ways to Get Rid of Slugs in Your Garden

A large slug crawling around on the ground leaving its slime all over the place.
© scott conner/Shutterstock.com

Written by Sam Hindman

Updated: September 29, 2023

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If you’re looking to discover how to get rid of slugs in a garden, you’re in the right place! Although these slimy creatures can sometimes be cute, they’re known to cause quite the ruckus when left to their own devices. Many gardeners face this trouble at one point or another, and the persistent slugs can prove a bit difficult to disperse. This is especially so when considering that your plants are their favorite snack. It might be a tough time, but it isn’t impossible! Together, let’s go over some of the ways you can remove these slugs and put the trouble behind you.

The Trouble Slugs Can Cause

The slug in the vegetable garden.

Although slugs can produce a nutrient-dense fertilizer, they can quickly stir up trouble!


Slugs are simple little creatures, and they desire very few things. All they want, really, is to be moist and away from sunlight. Unfortunately, your garden provides slugs with perfect access to both of these things in excess. That is why, more often than not, slugs can overstay their welcome and become troublesome.

But what sort of things do slugs do to your plants that are so harmful? For starters, these creatures carry a slew of diseases that they can (and will) spread to your precious plants and pets. Although rare, they can also make you sick. This is especially the case if you don’t frequently turn your mulch, as the slugs will begin to make a home in unchecked areas. Even worse, of course, is their appetite. The primary reason slugs are so bad for gardens is because they eat away all of the plant life- gardens are an all-you-can-eat buffet of leafy greens for the little mollusks.

Do Slugs Serve Any Beneficial Purpose?

The reason why slug infestations are so significant in gardens is because they actually provide benefits before they explode in population. When they exist in small numbers, they turn the debris they consume into a fertilizer that is full of nitrogen. This is similar to worm composting, in a sense. They also provide a neat little snack to garden creatures that you do want around, such as birds and frogs. The trouble is, these pesky guys get greedy! They multiply too quickly, leading to more harm than good in the long run.

The yeast in beer will attract slugs toward it, and when they enter the bowl, they’ll drown.

How To Get Rid of Slugs In A Garden

Now that we’ve established why someone would want to get rid of slugs in their garden, it’s time to go over the methods to accomplish this. It should be disclosed that these methods vary from humane to harmful, and it is up to your own discretion which method you’d like to use. Some are uncomfortable with killing creatures, even slugs, while others simply want to remove the pests as efficiently as they can. You should thoroughly read through the possible methods and choose the one that you feel best suits your slug-removing needs!

1. Add Some Plants That Slugs Hate

White masterwort, Astrantia major unknown variety, flower umbel in close up with white bracteoles tiipped with green and a background of blurred leaves and flowers.

While humans might love the scent of an Astrantia flower, slugs hate it!


Our first method for removing slugs from a garden is to make that garden a place where slugs simply have no interest in hanging out. Slugs are sensitive to a number of things, and certain plant scents are among those. This is an excellent option if what you’re looking to accomplish is repelling as opposed to outright removal. It’s also a very humane option, as while slugs might not care for the smell, it isn’t going to hurt them! Like the other options on this list, it’s also not reliant on chemicals or any inorganic matter. Some of the plants that naturally repel slugs include:

2. Remove Any Possible Shelter

Oak Toad

A natural predator of slugs is toads, so if you remove the slug’s shelter, these little guys might handle the problem for you!

©Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock.com

There are a number of places in your garden that slugs will adore using as shelter. Even miscellaneous objects that go unconsidered, like bricks or large tree branches, are enough for a slug to want to settle down and call the place home. Though removing some of your nicer decorations might be painful, moving them to a different area might be one of the best ways to get rid of slugs in a garden.

While slugs flock to these shaded areas for rest, they primarily do so for protection from predators. These predators can be anything from toads to hedgehogs and some common bird species too. When you make the environment of your garden uninhabitable or leave the slugs with no place to hide, their population should decline naturally without any need for further interference.

3. Buy Some Copper Tape

A pile of copper pipe at a condominium construction site in Canada

Copper, the metal pictured here, is a natural slug repellent due to its reaction to the slug’s slime.

©Steve Hiscock/Shutterstock.com

A little-known fact about slugs is that copper is a natural repellent for them. That’s because the metal reacts negatively with the slug’s slime, producing something equivalent to an electric shock. For this reason, lining areas of your garden where you wouldn’t like the slugs to enter is an excellent way to keep them out! It’s as easy as it is effective- simply place the tape down in desired areas and watch as the slugs turn around and run right back to wherever they came from.

4. Use Your Leftover Melon Rinds

Hands of woman with watermelon growing in the garden

With the help of melon, you can lure the slugs away from your precious plants.


The great part about this method of getting rid of slugs in a garden is that it is flexible in nature. It can be used in a humane way, luring away the slugs, or in a more lethal way, using the bait to capture and kill them. In either case, there’s only one tool that you’ll need to conduct this method successfully: the rind of fruit. This could be any number of fruits, but melons typically work best due to their striking size. You can use leftovers or just buy a melon specifically for this purpose. In either case, you need to empty the casing and place the melon in any desired area.

If you want to catch the slugs and get rid of them for good, placing them within your garden in a concentrated area should do the trick just fine. In the morning, scrape those slugs from the rind and into any number of solutions meant to drown them. If you’re feeling a bit more pacifistic, you can create an area in your yard, separate entirely from the garden, and create an environment they’d much rather hang out in! If they notice that the sweet treat is across the way, it’s fairly likely that the rind-filled region will become their new favorite spot. They’ll get a tasty treat, and you’ll have peace of mind. It’s a win-win!

5. Create A Trap With Beer or Sugar

Group of happy friends drinking and toasting beer at brewery bar restaurant - Friendship concept with young people having fun together at cool vintage pub - Focus on middle pint glass - High iso image

Beer isn’t just for drinking! It can also be used as a lethal method to expel slugs.

©View Apart/Shutterstock.com

This next tactic is one of the more lethal methods on the list. Still, it is seen as much better than using store-bought chemicals to combat your slug problem. You can use a number of things, such as beer, sugar, or even yeast, to accomplish this method. It is a simple method that involves filling a bowl with beer and placing it in your garden. The yeast in the beer will attract the slugs toward it, and when they enter the bowl, they’ll drown. As I’ve said, there’s no way to go about this method without the end result being the death of the slugs. It is advisable to use it as a last resort.

6. Use Compost Against Them

Closeup of Multiple Colored Eggs

Eggs are a double-whammy of benefits, acting both as slug repellent and an excellent fertilizer!


There are a number of things that are simultaneously great for your plants and horrible for the slugs that eat them. One of these things in particular is eggshells. Slugs are squishy creatures, and the sharp ridges of eggshells hurt them terribly. If your garden has been littered with crushed-up eggs, it will no longer serve as a place for slugs to spend their time. There’s an added bonus to this, too! Since egg shells are biodegradable and a frequent ingredient in compost, adding these shells to your garden will help your plants stay healthy in the long run.

If you don’t have access to eggshells or are worried about the possibility of over-fertilization, then there are substitutes that work all the same. Wood chips and gravel scattered along the perimeter of your garden will also do an excellent job of keeping those slugs away.

7. Good Old-Fashioned Picking and Removal

A large slug crawling around on the ground leaving its slime all over the place.

Sometimes the simplest answer is right- picking slugs out of your garden might be the right choice for you.

©scott conner/Shutterstock.com

Last but not least, is good old-fashioned picking. When it comes to removing slugs from a garden, sometimes you just have to get down and dirty. When hand-picking slugs, it’s best to do so in the early morning hours. This is when they’re most active and when you’re most likely to get the jump on them, so to speak. Once the sun begins to rise and you have enough light, go for it. This won’t completely eliminate the slug population the first time you try it, but it will if you consistently practice this method over a certain period of time.

If you just want to humanely remove the slugs, you can place them in a container as you catch them and set the container a great distance from your garden. If it’s too close, they might return. For those who want them gone permanently, placing them into a bucket of water with a touch of dish soap should do the trick. Don’t dump the deceased slugs near your garden, though, or the smell of decay might attract even more toward you.

Summary Table of 7 Quick and Effective Ways to Get Rid of Slugs in Your Garden

RankWays to Get Rid of Slugs
1Add Some Plants That Slugs Hate
2Remove Any Possible Shelter
3Buy Some Copper Tape
4Use Your Leftover Melon Rinds
5Create A Trap With Beer or Sugar
6Use Compost Against Them
7Good Old-Fashioned Picking and Removal

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About the Author

Sam Hindman is a writer at A-Z animals covering a range of topics, including pet care, plant care, pest control and travel destinations. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Multimedia Studies at Point Park University, set to graduate in the spring of 2024. A resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, when she isn't writing, she's spending time with her beloved cat Archie.

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