How to Get Rid of Slugs in Your House

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A slug, or a family of slugs, in your home is horrendous! But, as bad as it may seem, if you deal with the problem quickly and appropriately you can eradicate the slugs from your home. 

It’s likely that the solutions above will take time to work, and not every solution will work for everyone, but it is possible to rid your home of slugs! 

Got your own story to share? Let us know in the comments below! 

Bethan Bethan has a passion for exploring, reading, cooking and gardening! When she’s not creating culinary delights for her family, she’s concocting potions to keep her house clean!

What do slugs do and why getting rid of slugs, anyway?

Garden snails and slugs, just like other pests, come to the garden primarily in search for food. Finding shelter on hot sunny days is their additional motivation.

But do you really have to wonder how to get rid of snails as soon as you spot them? As for snails without shell, that is – slugs, it is recommended to act immediately. They are quite unique pests and their presence in the garden doesn’t bode well at all. Nonetheless, if you notice garden snails, you can hold for a while and observe their behaviour. Sometimes snails don’t prey on healthy plants and eat just scraps or naturally dying elements.

Interestingly enough, some snails can positively affect garden crops. They might eat weeds and their seeds. In this case, finding a way to kill snails is unnecessary.

How Do Slugs Get in the House?

Slugs can get into your house a lot more easily than you may think. All slugs like three conditions that will allow them to breed and thrive:

  • Darkness
  • Dampness
  • Smooth surfaces

I usually see slugs in basements, hallways, kitchens, and even inside living rooms. This is especially true in older houses and any house that has dampness. Many people believe that it may be that their house is dirty and that is what attracts the slugs in the first place. I can assure you that this is not true—it is simply the environmental conditions of where you live.

2. Use the Catch and Release Method

Because I’m the kind of person who literally doesn’t want to hurt a fly, I am going with the catch and release model here. Slugs like dark, damp hiding spots, so place a wet piece of wood or plank near slug hotspots; they will go there for some leisure time after devouring your garden all night. In the morning, lift it up and find the hiding slugs. Release them into the wild … or do with them what you will, just don’t tell me about it.

6 Quick and Easy Ways to Eliminate Slugs

  1. The best and quickest way is just to kill them. This is a viable option if you are not squeamish. A sharp stick will do the trick. Simply poke a stick into them and drop them into a bucket of water. That pretty much takes care of them. If you are squeamish, then ask someone who isn't to help you.
  2. Throw salt on them, and they will be dead in a few minutes. Then, you can get rid of them. Sea salt works better because it is more coarse.
  3. A bird table is a great idea, as it attracts birds that will eat slugs.
  4. Don't waste time with beer traps—they are a hit-or-miss method.
  5. Make the ground unappealing to slugs. Add some tree bark around bushes or better still some gravel or fine grit.
  6. Avoid any type of ground-covering plants, as slugs are experts at hiding under them. Try planting flowers that don't trail along the ground, and keep the soil well aerated as you go.

A Few Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Slugs come out at night, so any of these options will require a nighttime walk around the garden.
  • The time of year is important. Winter is a good time to deal with slugs. You may notice that around this season, slugs tend to disappear. If you are doing your last grass cut for the year and preparing the ground, this is a good time to make the ground rough and unappealing to slugs.
  • If you keep plant pots around the doors of your house, know that slugs enjoy staying underneath them. This really goes for anything that sits on the ground. I am not quite sure how they manage to actually get under these, but they do. It does no harm every now and then to do a quick check, especially if the pot is sitting close to any of the entrances to your home.
  • If you have a leafy garden, moss, or any type of slimy surface close to your house, slugs can get in through vents and under or through skirting boards. They do leave that telltale silver slimy trail behind them. They can also get in through any gaps in old doors or windows.
  • You will find them lurking behind items you may have sitting around in back halls, such as washing machines or under buckets. This especially happens in utility rooms when they manage to get in there. A simple way to cure that is to fill the gaps up as best you can.
  • Slugs feed on plants and weeds, so if you have any outside your door, slugs will like the environment.

Try using copper tape to prevent slugs from entering your home.

By Mosborne01 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

2. Crack Open a Cold One

Slugs like beer as much as they like the leafy greens of your garden plants. Crack open a beer and pour it into a few margarine tubs, then distribute the containers in various places around the yard, burying them so that about an inch remains above ground. The slugs will be attracted to the scent, crawl into the tubs, and drown overnight. Dispose of the containers the next morning in your trash or compost bin.

Why Do They Come In?

Slugs invade homes for a number of reasons, but usually because there’s something good that they want inside.

  • Slug love dark places, and they enter homes at night because they’re dark and very inviting. 
  • They also come in because houses have moisture problems – slugs love moist environments! Moisture in the home is usually caused by a damp problem and can be sorted out. 
  • In the night houses can be quite cool, which is a really welcoming environment for slugs.  
  • One of the biggest reasons they come in is because food has been left out – this includes pet food and human food in some cases. 

It’s worth noting that slugs usually target older homes because they have more holes and dampness in them. But this doesn’t mean that they won’t enter new builds.    

11. Use Companion Plants

Strategically placing complimentary plants together is one of the best things ever; Mother Nature is a genius, so why not let her help? You can place sacrificial companion plants that slugs love near your precious plants to lure them away from the plants you want to save for yourself.

How to get rid of slugs in the garden? Use plants!

Plants that repel the pests are the best way to get rid of slugs in garden. If you grow ecological vegetables in your garden – consider adding the following plants:

  • garlic,
  • onions,
  • mustard,
  • marjoram,
  • savory.

How about flowerbeds? Are you wondering if you can protect them from slugs naturally as well? Of course! Many different plants can enrich the flower border and protect it from pests. They are, for instance:

  • chamomile,
  • yarrow,
  • thyme,
  • sage,
  • wormwood.

Some of them are beneficial for health, so you can use them in different ways. For example, chamomile and wormwood are good stomach remedies, while sage has anti-inflammatory properties and it can be used for acne-prone skin.

It is recommended to plant slug repellent plants on the extreme edges of beds. This way, the pests will be discouraged from further penetration of the area.

4. Construct a Fruity Trap

Next time you snack on a citrus fruit like grapefruit or orange, unpeel the rind carefully so you can keep one bowl-shaped half in tact. Poke a hole that’s large enough for a slug to fit through, and then sit the fruit upside down like a dome in your garden. The sweet scent will lure slugs in, distracting them from their usual meal: your plants. If a predator doesn’t get to them first, collect the fruit scraps the next morning and kill any live slugs by dumping them into a container of soapy water.

How Does Slug Bait Work?

Baits are available on the market, such as the brands Escar-Go! or Sluggo. When using baits, place them near dark, damp areas of the garden where slugs typically hide. Follow the label directions and repeat as necessary. The active ingredients in most baits are toxic to humans, dogs, and cats, so use them safely and store them securely.

With a combination of strategies, the slug population in your garden should decrease or disappear.

Get more garden pest control tips.


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