How to Get Rid of Snails Without Killing Them

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The Bitter Fight is Usually Lost

In my experience, most slugs and snails have a high level of perseverance.

They usually succeed in thwarting all attempts to get rid of them.

Even if all the slugs in a garden are killed, others will arrive from elsewhere to fill the gap after only a short while.

Oddly enough, they seem to be even more numerous in gardens where a tough fight against them is waged.

I have not yet heard of any gardener who has managed to eradicate slugs from his garden by force.

The slug population seems resistant to poison and able to withstand every single attack with scissors and spades.

The fight against slugs can end in despair.
The fight against slugs can end in despair.


How do Pest Control Specialists Get Rid of Snails?

Getting rid of snails typically requires a multi-f

Getting rid of snails typically requires a multi-faceted approach. When you work with Smith’s Pest Management, here’s the method our team will use to get rid of snails:

1. Inspection

To completely resolve your snail infestation, we start with a comprehensive inspection. We’ll look for access points where the snails are entering your home, food sources they may be feasting on, and any other problem areas that need attention.

This crucial step allows us to identify the species and type of snail, while also getting a sense of how extensive the snail infestation is.

2. Treatment

Based on the information we gather during our inspection, we’ll develop a targeted treatment plan for your home. We’ll utilize a variety of methods and control measures to get rid of snails, including:

  • Baiting
  • Trapping
  • Monitoring
  • Exclusion and barrier tactics

3. Follow-Up

To make sure we’ve completely resolved your snail infestation, we provide regular follow-up appointments. We’ll check our treatment methods to make sure they’re still working, and make any adjustments needed.

Getting rid of slugs in the garden – use baking soda!

You probably use baking soda in your kitchen regularly – but it has many more uses. You can clean a washing machine, descale a kettle or brighten curtains with it. It can also help you in the garden as a slug repellent.

Are you wondering whether using baking soda to get rid of snails is difficult? Some claim it’s the most effective method of getting rid of slugs. All you have to do is pour it in whatever spots you want to protect against the pests. Soda creates a barrier that repels slugs and snails – they are not able to cross it, so they give up and leave your garden.

Is It Necessary to Kill Slugs and Snails?

In my opinion, it is not necessary to kill slugs and snails using any of the methods described above.

There are much wiser ways to deal with the pests.

You do not need to fight them directly.

It is enough to ward them off passively; for example, with barriers against slugs and snails.

What Damage Can Snails Cause?

For a small creature, snails can pack a big punch. Snails have a rough,  rasp-like tongue, which they scrape across the edges of plant leaves. The result is large holes and chips across the surface area of the plant, which can damage or even kill your greenery.

But that’s not all they do.

Here are a few reasons to get rid of snails as soon as you see them:

  • Snails reduce crop yield. If you have a flower or a  vegetable garden on your property, snails will eat your plants and reduce your crop yield. They’re particularly hard on leafy vegetables.
  • They can destroy water features. Snails and slugs are parasitic and can kill fish in decorative ponds and water features. Plus, these water-loving mollusks reproduce rapidly and can short your electronics and clog pond or pool filters and pipes.
  • They spread disease. Snails carry diseases and parasitic worms (including Schistosomiasis that can be dangerous for domestic pets and people. Having them on your property may be putting your health at risk.
  • They are unsightly. Nobody wants to pick a fresh leaf of lettuce from the garden only to find a snail. Snails are unsightly and disgusting and will make your yard or garden a less enjoyable place to be.

Use Certain Terrains in your Garden

Snails are very sensitive to certain different terrains and you can utilise this. Contact with any of these terrains will not kill snails and they can be used to keep snails either our of your plant pots or away from your flower beds.


Snails do not like travelling across any type of gravel. This is because the small stone pieces are cold and sharp which makes it uncomfortable for snails and sometimes the small stones stick to them.

Because of this, they will avoid travelling over gravel and placing it around the borders of your garden can keep slugs away from all areas.


Slate is uncomfortable for the same reason as gravel, which means that snails will also avoid travelling across it. It is cold and sharp and therefore can hurt them sometimes.

Using slate flags on your garden is a good way to deter snails from travelling across and to your plants because of the hard and cold surface.


Mulch is made up of decaying plant matter, in mulch, you may find bark shards, leaves and wood chippings. This terrain is very rough, and its inconsistency makes it very difficult for snails to travel across so they will usually avoid it.

Putting mulch on top of your plant soil is also good because it is designed to help plants to grow quickly and healthy.

Whilst some of these terrains can hurt snails, they cannot cause enough damage to be fatal and most snails will avoid them in the first place and therefore will not get hurt at all.

12. Spread salt or baking soda

This is a lethal option, so, if you are trying to naturally deter snails without killing them, this is not the option to choose. Baking soda and salt dry out snails and slugs, which will kill them. This is incredibly painful for them and is not a nice way to kill them, but, since it is such a commonly used method, we did want to mention it here. So, it is an option, but it would be better to try other options on this list first.

12: Gravel, Bark or Wood Chips

Gravel, bark, sharp sand and wood chips create a barrier for snails and slugs. It makes it difficult for the pests to get around and slide over the irregular, sharp surfaces. Adding this to your gardens can help reduce the chance of them being eaten by slugs and snails, and these top coats also look stunning in a garden. Wood chips and bark look great in natural styled gardens, while stone and sand looks amazing in modern style gardens!

6. Use Killer Substances, Chemicals, and Pesticides

Salt is one of the substances that kill snails and slugs. It absorbs water from the mollusks, dehydrating and killing them. Sprinkle salt directly on them or use it to create a barrier. Warning: Salt can harm plants and other animals, so be careful when using it.

Garlic can also kill the gastropods. Mix it with water to create a solution, then spray it on the infested area.

Iron phosphate. When it comes to chemicals, this is my number-one recommendation. As mentioned earlier, this chemical is safe, so you can use it almost anywhere.

Other chemicals. Other effective chemicals include alum (aluminum sulfate), bleach (chlorine), and potassium permanganate. To use these chemicals, you only need to spray them in the infested area. Metaldehyde can also be used as a pesticide. This compound is toxic, so it may not be the best option for people with domestic animals. If you decide to use metaldehyde, you should ensure that it doesn't come into contact with people, pets, food, or beneficial animals.

2: Beer Trap

Apparently, slugs love beer! And if you don’t mind killing the slugs and snails in your garden, a beer trap might be your best option. Sink a butter or yoghurt tub into the ground with the rim at soil level. Fill this with beer to create the beer trap. The slugs and snails are attracted, fall in and drown. Make sure you use a tub that is deep enough that the slugs or snails can’t crawl out again. This is obviously not a great option, however, if you have pets who may get into the tub and drink the beer before your pests!

8. Make Tiny Copper Fences

Lore has it that copper shocks slugs; though I haven’t seen much science behind that theory. Whatever the magic, copper tubing, flashing, or tape works as an excellent barrier in keep slugs at bay. You can put it around certain plants or around whole beds – just be sure to have previously trapped all the slugs within the fenced area first.


Gastropods have delicate tummy tissue, and any sharp materials will irritate and potentially cut their tender undersides.

For an extra layer of defense, build a small berm at least three inches wide with fine stone chips, crushed egg shells, diatomaceous earth (DE), or crushed oyster and clam shells.

Diatomaceous earth is derived from silicon dioxide and has sharp, abrasive edges. But it must remain dry to deter gliding gastropods.

Use food grade DE, not the material used in aquariums (which has smoother edges), and follow instructions when applying.

4. Add copper

When snails touch copper, their slime reacts in a way that they receive an uncomfortable electrical shock that will quickly encourage them to turn around and find somewhere else to dine. Adhesive copper tape is available at home improvement stores, garden centers, or online and is the most convenient way to ward off slugs and snails with copper. If you go the adhesive copper tape route, you can simply run the tape along the edges of your garden beds to keep snails from entering.

If you do not want to purchase copper tape or just happen to have a jar of copper pennies lying around, you can also use pennies to protect your garden. When using pennies, you can glue them to your garden bed to keep them in place and will want to make sure they are very close together so you do not leave pathways for smaller snails and slugs to sneak through.


As you can see, there are many ways to control snails and slugs in your home, garden, or water feature. A combination of methods might work best. Depending on your preference and other factors, you can choose the methods that suit you best.

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.

3. Set up a Beer Trap

This is cruel and leads to slug death, but if you are desperate, here goes. Bury an open container so that the rim is level with the ground and put about an inch of beer in it. The slugs will dive into this shallow beer pool and meet their hasty demise. Check the trap each morning and clean it out as necessary.


  • Avoid using salt to kill snails, as it will likely damage your plants or the soil in your yard or garden.

    Thanks! Helpful 4 Not Helpful 1

  • Be careful when using coffee grounds, as they can affect the pH of the soil.

    Thanks! Helpful Not Helpful 2


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Natural predators will also do their fair share in keeping slug and snail numbers down, provided you have a welcoming environment – which usually means no cats or dogs to chase them away.

Some predators known to feast on gastropods include frogs and toads, garter snakes, lizards, hedgehogs, moles, thrushes, blackbirds, magpies, and rooks.

Which brings us to our final tip…


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