Introduction: How to Get Rid of Snails and Slugs

Picture of How to Get Rid of Snails and Slugs

Snails and Slugs are probably the most devastating insect to the gardens and plants.

Killing snails and slugs with pesticides (so called molluscicide pellets) may be very effective, however it is also devastating to the wildlife, your pets, and your family. When the snails and slugs natural predators eats the contaminated snails and slugs they will too get contaminated and get very ill and sometimes die. If your curious domestic pets and young family members sees those bright blue pesticides, they are very likely to eat it and end up getting very ill. However they are some recent technology that manufactures now make snails and slugs pesticides with animal repellent in it, it repels your pets from it, but it is still damaging to the natural predators if they eat the contaminated snails and slugs.

So on this instructable, I will show you a few ways how to get rid of snails and slugs without using those dangerous snails and slugs pesticides.

Please note that I am only 15 years old and I am not very good at grammar so if you find some parts of the instructable confusing, please let me know and I will try fix it.

Step 1: Snail and Slug Removal

Picture of Snail and Slug Removal

The most effective (and green) way of getting rid of snails and slugs is hand picking them from your garden... Yes, I know that sounds like a disgusting job to do, but it is much better than killing the wildlife with pesticides.

If you never have done snail and slug picking, be prepared for the shock of how many snails and slugs that lives in your garden (when I first started doing snail and slug picking, I was amazed how many snails and slugs that lives in my garden, there was like hundred's of them)!

Through my experience of snail and slug picking, the best ever time to pick them is a few hours after sunset after a rainstorm although some snails and slugs come out at night or in a rainstorm during the day.
The reason the snails and slugs like to come out at night is because it is cool, fewer predators, and less chance of drying out, if the snails and slugs are out in a sunny day, they would get too hot and dry out and die.

When you go snail and slug picking, put the captured victims in a bucket with some soapy water so they cannot climb out of the bucket while you are doing snail and slug picking, and put the lid on after you are finnish picking them, otherwise they will try get out of the bucket. Also if you are squeamish about the slime, wear rubber gloves or use a long-handled dandelion digger or a pair of long tweezers.

Step 2: What to Do With Your Victims.

Picture of What to Do With Your Victims.
After you collected all the snails and slugs in the bucket, you might be asking your self, "what can you do with all of them?"
Well, heres some tips...
  • You can kill them all with salt (very disgusting).
  • Keep them as pets (if you love them, my sister loves them very much).
  • Feed your animals that eats snails and slugs.
  • Or you can take them all to some very grassy or over grown places, the snails and slugs will do a good job to make the over grown places look tidier.

After the snails and slugs stayed in the bucket for a few hours, I found some eggs!!! I don't know who laid them, probably a slug, anyway this is my first time seeing some eggs laid by who ever laid the eggs!
I am sure GorillazMiko will want the eggs! Just kidding!

Also the eggs are very bouncy, I accidentally drop one on my desk and it went bouncing around on my desk like a bouncy ball!

Those two more options are n8man's ideas, so credits to n8man.
  • Drop them off in your worst neighbor's (enemy's) back yard.
  • Sell the snails (no slugs) to a french restaurant (not all of the french restaurants will accept the snails, but some will).
Now you might be asking your self, "why in the earth would the french restaurants would want the snails?" (It is quite disgusting, if you really want to know, read on.) Well it is because the french people eats the snails.

Step 3: Snail and Slug Barrier

Picture of Snail and Slug Barrier
If you don't want to go snail and slug picking because you find them too disgusting or lazy, how are you going to protect your plants from snails and slugs?

Well, you can make a snail and slug barrier with...
  • Waste vegetation, the snails and slugs are likely to eat this instead of your valuable plants.
  • Spiky things like crushed egg shell, sweetgum tree's spiky ball seed, it makes the snails and slug's traveling very uncomfortable.
  • Wood ash from fireplace or bonfires, it makes the snails and slug's traveling very uncomfortable.
  • Pure cool soot, it makes the snails and slug's traveling very uncomfortable.
  • sawdust, it makes the snails and slug's traveling very uncomfortable.

You can use any one of those options as a snail and slug barrier.
To make the barrier, you put a small mound of the stuff around your plants that is constantly eaten by snails and slugs.

Step 4: Snails and Slug's Deadly Predator...

Picture of Snails and Slug's Deadly Predator...

Okay, if you cannot do any of those things in the previous steps, heres one more thing you should be able do... Buy the Decollate snails, put them in your garden, and watch the mother nature do the work...

The Decollate snails are probably the best way to control snails and slugs.
The Decollate snail will hunt, kill, and eat snails and slugs, they will also eat the baby snails and slugs and their eggs, if the Decollate snail cannot find any snails or slugs to eat, they will eat dead plant matter and sometimes eat live plant matter, but not much...
The Decollate snail are perfectly harmless and nontoxic so they are safe to put in your garden were your young ones and your pets play in.


WilliamD11 (author)2015-02-03

Say I kept the snails and slugs as pets... what would I feed them?

You know that you don't need to feed them, they eat your plants. That is why they are still in your garden and that they are alive and well.

hayesdj (author)WilliamD112015-02-20

While baby carrots and lettuce will work, their favorite food is a cucumber. Also, they need calcium, so you would have to get them a cuttle bone from the pet store to nibble on.

19SnailGirl (author)hayesdj2015-12-05

Thank you! I could use that info on my own snails. Sometimes i dont finish my lunch in school so ill feed them my veggies

cheyennerouzer (author)2016-10-18

That does sound gross but, this might be an easy way to help our class get rid of the snail problem in our garden at school.

RockyM9 (author)2016-05-07

A frugal way to beat these slimy destructive pesks is to apply cheap table salt and sprinkle it lightly about 3 feet away from plants, flowers or veggies to form a protected barrier. The slug or snail will motor over the salt and its crystals will stick to its under belly and erode it like acid into a gooey lumpy glob. Reapply salt after rainy periods or watering lawns it is much better than slug baits and pelts that could be harmful to pets, and curious little children and maybe the environment. Salt is cheap to buy, try it and happy gardening.

Kerwin Maude

19SnailGirl (author)2015-12-05

Why would you get rid of snails and slugs when you can easily keep them as a pet! I have two pet snails and they are adorable! Instead of throwing out dead leaves and dead grass, just feed it to your snails. Its a great pet if your under a budget because you get the food easily in your backyard. It might not be as easy in winter though. You shouldnt have to feed them very often though because i went two months without feeding them and their fine. They find food in soil i guess. But they LOVE rotten leaves and can probably even eat rotten food like an orange peel or banana peel! Please consider it if your reading this! Thanks!!!!

athello (author)2015-08-06

Sandpaper accomplishes the same things as eggshells...snails and slugs don't like the rough surface. You can also use sandpaper to speed up the germination process in some of your plants by running fine grit sandpaper over the hard shell seeds. So it serves another purpose :) You can read more about it here:

Bamf64779 (author)2015-04-27

Isaw one on there earlier thinking awe its hiding under the leaf from the rain and i left it there unsure that it was sucking holes in my leaves i thaught it was aphids but now i know its the snails. I wanna grow a special green garden for just snails lol

Bamf64779 (author)2015-04-27

Isaw one on there earlier thinking awe its hiding under the leaf from the rain and i left it there unsure that it was sucking holes in my leaves i thaught it was aphids but now i know its the snails. I wanna grow a special green garden for just snails lol

Bamf64779 (author)2015-04-27

My lettuce is attracting snails

tareko (author)2013-04-18

Thanks for sharing this instrucable.
I don't know about the slugs. As for the snails, here is - trust me - a delicious way of getting rid of them:

(Just run the url on Google Translactor)

BeverlyS1 (author)tareko2014-09-18

EWWW....a RECIPE...hahaha...not sure what I expected!! :-) just no.

devicemodder (author)2013-12-13

how to get rid of slugs: HIGH VOLTAGE!

dillonxti (author)devicemodder2014-07-22


lovemyherbs (author)devicemodder2014-03-01

Picking and smashing best. But I live near the lake,so there are thousands more next day. The Wildlife here ate my cat,so I really don't care if they get a poison snail.

This year I planted the herbs in pots(it's cute that way anyhow). I will buy some hard plastic plant trays Or see if melamine plates or other plates fit, Then fill them with diatomaceous earth,see if that helps. You can get a large sack of DT at Tractor supply for around $10. I also spread sulphur before a rain,helps with mites and ticks and SNAKES (we have rattlers!) I start that up at our foundation and make crop circles around the house and pour a little extra up by the road,where I think the rattlers trail from their Den is. I have slab foundation and have never seen slugs or snails around it or inside house,so the sulphur might be good,probably a dust would be more effective,since they crawl into it,but pellets last longer.

Here, the rattlers are not agressive snakes,but they also don't rattle when you are near. You could step on one or put your apendage too near when you don''t see them. My Golden retreiver got bit in the throat in our backyard. He made it through,but we didn't find the snake, and the bite was a full two inches between fangs! Maybe they'll eat the poison snails.

awang8 (author)2009-01-30

Hmm... This is pretty cool. Have you tried garlic mash? Snails hate it so it's good for barriers and if a snail eats it anyway the snail gets sick and dies!

Oh, and that Decollate Snail cartoon's funny!

lovemyherbs (author)awang82014-03-01

I tried garlic everything, my snails like it. Even planted it around the border.

Plasmana (author)awang82009-01-31

Garlic mash? I never tried it, bit I will when summer comes... Haha! yeah...

joeysdreamgarden (author)2008-08-29

This is a great intructable! very clear and easy to follow. There is something that i'd like to add though, is to use leftover grapefruit or orange halves, you know if you cut an orange or grapefruit in half and scoop out the flesh or squeeze it for the juice, then place it flat-side-down near where the snails & slugs will be, then collect it at night when there should be plenty of snails and slugs feeding, and you can 'deal with' the offending creatures! Also, have you heard of 'beer traps'? Basically, you place a saucer or similar thing in the soil near where snails & slugs will be (near your hostas!), slightly sunk into the soil so the slugs & snails can easily slide in, and fill it with cheap & nasty beer. The snails and slugs will be attracted by the sweet smell and then drown in the alcohol. Your sister wouldn't like it though... good luck with the pest eradication! Cheers Joey

Thanks for telling me that! Yeah, I heard of beer traps, I might put that on my instructable...

Rotten194 (author)Plasmana2009-06-18

Might be a little suspicious for a 15 year old... Hi, uh, could I get some beer? I need to... uh.... kill snails! Yeah, kill snails.

lovemyherbs (author)Rotten1942014-03-01

omy you ARE rotten! But, really Lets not waste any beer. What we don't drink goes in the stew or on the meat!

Plasmana (author)Rotten1942009-06-19

lol, thats funny

misterwobbley (author)2013-11-28

Turn your plant pests into plant food. Korean natural farming method ferments a mixture of snails, molasses and bacteria to make a plant feed high in amino acids.

biogalpal (author)2013-07-06

Thank you! Had you not written it, I would have NEVER known you are 15 ! Keep up the good work. Your "INSTRUCTABLES" is great.

yeticrist (author)2013-01-24

FYI. Most snails are generally helpful. They eat slugs.

curlie (author)2012-11-05

make a beer trap a small container buried just so it is level with the soil pour about i inch of beer old is ok and they get drunk and drown cool hey

expatty (author)2012-08-22

Hens also like eating slugs and snails ... but they will also eat your plants too. So before you plant this years crop let the hens turn over your patch for a couple of days.
Not having a hen could be a flaw in this plan but nothing is perfect ;-)
Going off to check on the garden now!

Ninjjutsumaster (author)2008-11-21

Ive heard that copper tape will keep away lemon slugs lemon slugs are actually one of the only snails that damage plants Lemon slugs have static charge so when they touch the tape zp! They shock themselves on an electric fence it dosent kill though

I have found that the best way to deter snails and slugs is to place Pecan Hulls under the plant. Place at least an inch of pecan hulls at the base of your plant, place it as far out as the plant leaves reach. Be sure to throw some in the middle of the plant around where the leaves come out of the ground so the snails don't sneak in there. The reason that pecan hulls work is because the snail and slug will cut themselves on the sharp edges of the hulls. they can not crawl over the hulls without cutting themselves. It's the best ever!!! natural, it also keeps the ph of your soil a little more acidic if needed and they really enrich the mulch. I just wish that it would kill them. Because snails and slugs multiply like rabbits!! or worse.

Marcos (author)Ninjjutsumaster2012-02-18

I've had great luck with galvanized steel. I had a strip of it, a couple of inches wider than my lettuce bin, so I put it underneath, with about 1 1/2" of galvanized sticking out all around. No more slugs or snails in the lettuce. I also have a bin made of galvanized sheet metal I salvaged. No slugs or snails there either, just the occasional caterpillar. If I find 'em early, my greens are safe.

Vermin (author)Ninjjutsumaster2011-07-08

Slugs do not have a static charge. There may be an electrochemical reaction between the slime and copper though.

I'm rather curious about what electricity does to snails...

shellykb1 (author)2012-06-24

my only problem with using salt in the garden is that it changes the ph and can kill some of your plants.

Scott_Tx (author)2008-07-18

You can put out a small tray of beer too. Snails are natures booze hounds.

bob.smitty (author)Scott_Tx2008-08-14

actually, it's the yeast in the beer that attracts them, the alcohol that kills them...

shellykb1 (author)bob.smitty2012-06-24

I believe that it's the sugar that attracts the snails and the salt in the beer that kills them.

mole1 (author)bob.smitty2011-07-15

Not in my experience... I've had them drink shallow dishes dry and leave weaving trails back into the greenery. The alcohol in beer doesn't kill them. They need to get drunk, lose their grip, fall in and drown. So about 4 inches of beer in a smooth sided container deep enough that they can't hook their tails over the lip will work. By the way, slugs prefer beer to German wine about 400 to 3. Go figure.

copycat42 (author)bob.smitty2008-09-15

funny, it's the alcohol that attracts me. :)

bob.smitty (author)copycat422008-12-05

Me too. That's why I'm at war with snails, forcing people to waste beer... :)

crafty_crayons (author)copycat422008-10-15

lol not me

windstalker1992 (author)2012-01-31

if you cant stand picking them off everything consider this:

for potted plants you can put a dishlike thing under the pot so you can have liqiud in there without it getting into the soil in the pot and then fill that dish with the cheapest beer you can find.. the snail will crawl into it... and die

marimoto58 (author)2011-09-06

I realy cant pick them so i just use my salt and shake a bit on them. They just melt in seconds before my eyes.

Miss mollel (author)marimoto582011-11-15

Yesterday i forgot my sink pipe open in the morning and by the time i got home, at nearly 20hrs i was welcomed by a horrifying sight of water all over my room AND SNAILS all around the sink, BESIDE and INSIDE it. I wonder what brought them, if they were there all along, and how to rid them. Well, i picked them and put salt all around and pured litres of boiling water in it but this morning there were at least five of them still lurking in my sink
WHAT CAN I DO?? PLease help for i should go crazy if they stay there ONE MORE DAY

shipto (author)2011-06-11

I notice you pictured the slugs on lillies we have some of the same variety in our garden which have been eaten almost completely by lilly beetles this year, I would almost welcome some slugs easier to get rid of than these messier than any slug or snail little blighters

Screamo (author)2010-09-24

Yeah.... Me and my friend went slug picking and we put them in a shoe box, a few days later the box was covered with slime. i suggest salt :) unless your like a PROTECT THE WILDLIFE person.

tabbycats (author)2010-05-05

try the Slug Bell, pets, wildlife cannot access the pellets, it's efficient and attractive too

angef (author)2009-08-25

Nice work! I was using beer in a special trap then found this a bit expensive. There isn't a trap out there as effective as crawling around on your hands and knees at night. I went out at night with flashlight and would get about 50 slugs a night. Then I realized they were coming from my lawn and that night I got 200. I have a very small yard and obviously a very big slug problem.

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