Slug Traps: How to Catch Slugs and Snails | Without Beer | Tips and Tricks

A powerful remedy against slugs and snails is to set up traps.

It will not then be necessary to pick up the slugs and snails one by one.

It is better not to use traps that will kill them.

Instead, you can construct and use traps in which you can catch them alive.

Capturing, collecting and relocating the animals is a cheap and environmentally friendly way to control snail and slug populations.

Catch the Slug/Snail!

If slugs and snails are destroying your garden, catch them and set them free at a safe distance.

The traps have one significant advantage: time-consuming collecting manually becomes unnecessary.

They make it possible for you to collect the pests in groups during the day, meaning that going out late at night or early in the morning on ‘slug watch’ will no longer be necessary.

Further, points to consider when setting up live slug traps are explained below.

Beer traps will backfire.

Why are Baits like Beer or Yeast Dangerous?

Please stay away from beer traps, yeast, and any other potent baits!

Many people have suffered a great deal after using beer or yeast to attract and kill slugs.

This is because baits such as beer not only attract the pests from around your garden, but also from all around your neighborhood.

Be aware that beer and yeast can attract them from up to 200 yards (meters) and even farther.

Moreover, not all slugs will die from the alcohol or drown in the beer; as a result, you end up with more slugs in your garden than before.

Some people believe it might be possible to use wine, but it is the yeast in the beer that attracts them.

In wine, you do not find yeast as you do in beer, so wine as a bait is not an option.

If this is the first time you’ve heard about these problems with beer traps and have already tried them, now you know why the method does not work well.

There are other reasons why beer traps are not a reliable way to control the slug population.

You will find more information here: Beer traps – their risks and dangers.

strawberry-slugs and snails love plants and fruits
As bait, use plants slugs love eating.

Which Baits are Safe to Use to Attract Slugs?

The best way is to catch the slugs and snails with a weak natural attractant.

These natural baits include dead plant parts. You could use these: plants that slugs love.

Since harmful slugs – such as the Spanish slug – have a similar taste to humans, you can also use vegetable leftovers from the kitchen.

For example, old salad leaves, cucumber, or squash are a safe way to attract slugs.

Please do not use cooked or spiced foods; otherwise you could attract rats!

Cucumber slices, soaked oatmeal, and oatmeal are good baits, too.

Melon or orange peel with some fruit leftovers inside also attract slugs.

In general, you could observe what preferences your slugs and snails have.

If you use several traps in your garden, it is easy to study how attractive different baits are.

plate as slug trap
A simple plate in the right spot can attract numerous slugs and snails.

Types of Snail and Slug Traps

In principle, there are three ways to capture slugs:

  1. Live traps: These are traps that slugs and snails can enter but not leave. In contrast to beer traps, in which the snails could die, these traps just capture them.
  2. The second option is to create places where they like to hide during the day. You can collect them from there in the evening before they come out.
  3. Finally, it is possible to create a bed in the garden with many plants that are loved by slugs. There they will gather, and you can quickly pick them up.

Video: A simple slug trap

What should slug-attractant places look like?

An excellent example of a place that slugs like is compost.

As a gardener, you probably know that slugs and snails like to hang out there because it is made of one of their favorite food sources: dead plant remains.

You can also often find slugs and snails under flowerpots or buckets made of clay, terracotta, or plastic – as seen in the video.

They hide underneath during the day because it is wet and dark – two conditions they prefer.

There they are safe from predators – such as birds – and they cannot dry out.

It is easy, therefore, to create these conditions in various places around your garden and to collect them there before nighttime.

It then becomes unnecessary to search for them in the dark or the early morning.

This sort of slug trap should have the four characteristics below:

  1. moist
  2. cool and not too hot
  3. dark
  4. available remains of plants.

If you put these four conditions together, you have created a place where slugs like to spend their day.

slug eggs under garden fabric

For this purpose, the following are suitable:

  • old roof tiles
  • potsherds
  • wooden boards
  • foil
  • weed fleece
  • flat stones.

These spots should be as dark as possible and provide enough room for slugs and snails to slip underneath.

Next to, on top of or beneath the hiding place you can put a natural attractant as described above.

Weeded-out plants can also be useful for this purpose.

All you then need is patience, and soon the first snails will arrive.

In the late afternoon or early evening, before they come out, they can be collected and relocated at least a few miles/km away.

You could place these trapping points in strategic areas around your garden beds.

Garden fabric | Bio-degradable

Click on the image leads to on Offer on Amazon.

How to Use Live Traps

Live traps (non-deadly traps) are a possible alternative and are easy to use.

However, they can become dangerous if misused.

On the one hand, they could be filled with strong attractants, and on the other, they could be forgotten and then fill themselves with strong attractants – namely dead slugs.

If captured slugs die inside your trap, they will create a smell that attracts conspecifics magically over far distances – be aware that slugs are cannibals.

I therefore recommend checking slug traps daily.

If baits are used, there is always the danger that they could attract even more pests into the garden.

So, it is essential to use a means that attracts them only from the surrounding area.

As mentioned above, oatmeal, salad leaves or even strawberries are a good choice.

Strong attractants should only be used to lure slugs out of the garden.

For example, if the garden is next to a forest or a meadow, you could place some yeast there and, in this way, invite the pests to leave.

The advantage of live traps is that they also work at night.

Natural attraction points are not safe at night, and the slugs will leave when they feel like it.

plus minusConclusion

The beauty of traps is that you save yourself a lot of time and work.

The danger is that you could hurt yourself: Harm set – harm get!

But if you are aware of the dangers of using baits, you can avoid them and learn a more mindful way of trapping snails.

You can do it yourself with simple means and with proper use you do not have to fear any unwanted side effects.

The slug population can be reduced, and you do not waste time searching for the slugs, which could be tedious and time-consuming.

Slug live trap design. Clicking on the image leads to more information on Amazon.

Snails that do not show themselves during the day can be caught with live traps.

As a result, the pests slowly but surely decrease, and a population boom can be prevented or reduced.

Live slug trap made from stone – available in the US: Offer on Etsy.

Slug Live Trap Test

To my knowledge, there is as yet only one live trap for slugs available.

The trap provides a mechanism that is supposed to let snails in but not out.

I tested the trap to find out if it really works.

Video: Slug trap test

The test indicated that the trap works better than expected.

Although some slugs and snails may find their way out, most of them are trapped successfully.

To make it slug-proof, you could put copper tape or slug deterrent paint on the inside.

The trap has a simple design, and you might be able to rebuild it easily with suitable materials.


Alternative Ideas

In general, it is crucial to attract the enemies of slugs and snails.

Copper can be used to build repelling barriers: copper against slugs

If you would like to protect larger areas, special fences are an efficient way: slug barriers

Gardeners with a low-budget find here some DIY ideas: homemade slug-control 

Peaceful Slug Control & Plant Protection

Snail & Slug Repellent Copper Tape | AdhesiveAnti-Slug Fence | Protective Barrier
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Offers on eBayOffers on Etsy

Sheep Wool Pellets | Natural Snail RepellentAnti-Slug Collars | For Single Plants | Multipack
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Mindful consumption: Please only buy what you or your garden really need.

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14 thoughts on “Slug Traps: How to Catch Slugs and Snails | Without Beer | Tips and Tricks”

  1. I have two tortoise that go bananas over any slug I find im trying to find something to get rid of coqui frogs that wont hurt my turtles or tortoise and other frogs or bees etc just put contract out on coqui unable to just re locate in Hawaii each island thought diatanacious earth but now not sure thanks

  2. Slugs are pests that destroy crops. Relocating them is an inconsiderate, selfish, and reckless thing to do. It’s just making it someone else’s problem. How would you like it if your neighbors all dumped their slugs in your back yard?

    • Endemic slugs have their ecological role as every other species on this planet. Killing them because they eat your veggies is pointless and dumb for various reasons. If you don’t live in a glass bubble killing pests will only free space for more pests to come, since the source is almost infinite. Dead slugs attract more pests and especially more slugs, and the amount you can kill is ridiculous compared to the amount present out there.

    • I hear you. And it’s even worse if you grow mushrooms outdoors.

      I’ve had it. I’m going on a gah’damn genocidal rampage against them MFers. Slug Jihad!

    • Mary relocating. ; I throw them on the road for the traffic to run over them. The carcases end up in the storm water drains and washed out to sea providing nutrients for kai moana.

  3. Hi there

    It’s awesome to know other people are interested in not killing slugs and snails. I love having them in my garden. My problem is that my parents kill them to protect their herbs. I can’t seem to track down this trap. Amazon is out. Any chance I could get a photo from someone that has one? As many as possible actually so I can build one.
    Loved the article:) !!

    • By using different size cans you you make one. For example, use a large 28 ounce vegetable can and save the piece you cut out to remove vegetables. Cut a hole in the middle of top that you cut out. It should be close the the same size as a small can of rotel tomatoes. You also need to cut out the bottom of the rotel can so that you only have a tube. You can use foil tape to hook everything together. What you should have would be a tube suspended in the top of the larger can that does NOT go to the bottom of the can the slugs and snails go in but can get out.

  4. What is the evidence that yeast attracts slugs from 200 yards? Please provide a link for the study/experiment. I spent the whole day searching for evidence and I found none. Just people talk.

    • Dear Leah,
      It’s great that you mention this.
      I’m not sure if there is an experiment or study on this. I would love to see one too!
      If you find one, please let me know. But I imagine it’s very difficult to test this properly – maybe even almost impossible?

      What we do know is that yeast and dead slugs attract other slugs.

      I am not aware that there is even an experiment to test how accurately and how well they can smell.
      If I have the time, motivation and energy, maybe one day I could start an experiment!
      As they usually move around at night, their eyesight is said to be very limited, and it is thought that their sense of smell is excellent and is also used for orientation.

      Please note that I am not claiming in this article that they are certain to be attracted from within 200 meters, only that this could be possible. It is a danger that an observant gardener should consider before using beer or bait.

      I hope you can find the answers you really need.

      Yours sincerely,

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