Keep slugs and snails off your veggies with a homemade beer trap

DSC02303By Ian Ferguson

Here in the moist Pacific Northwest, slugs and snails are all over the place.

Under normal circumstances they are harmless little critters, but when it comes to gardening they become the enemy, munching on every leaf in sight. It can be tough to keep up with a full-on slug and snail infestation in your garden. Peeling them off the kale every morning only seems to yield dozens more by
the afternoon.

Fortunately for you (and unfortunately for slugs and snails), these terrestrial gastropod molluscs can’t resist the taste of yeast found in beer. Take advantage of the slug’s weakness for brew to create a cheap and easy homemade trap that could save your garden from the scourge of the slimy leaf eaters.

The idea behind the slug trap is to create a vessel full of beer that slugs and snails can get into. Once inside, the slugs never leave because they drown in the beer.

Yogurt containers work well, as do pop bottles cut in half. Pretty much any plastic container with vertical walls and an open top will work, but ideally the container should be at least 3
inches deep.

You’ll need to create a roof for the slug trap to keep the rain out, because rainwater can dilute the beer and fill the container, allowing the slugs and snails to escape. Yogurt lids, tin foil and plastic scraps all work as roofs. Feel free to get creative, but make sure there is a gap between the roof and the container to allow the slugs and snails to get in.

Fill the slug trap half full with beer. Luckily, cheap beers tend to work best. Place the trap in your garden. No need to bury the container, because the slugs and snails will find their way up the sides to get to the beer.

Let the trap do its thing overnight. When you check on the trap the next morning, you’ll probably find a few dead slugs and snails inside. At least they died drunk and happy.

Dispose of the dead slugs and snails in your compost pile, refill the trap with fresh beer and replace it in your garden.

If necessary, place multiple traps throughout your garden. With any luck, you’ll be able to save your produce this summer using the inescapable allure
of beer.

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