Get Rid of Garden Slugs
Several years ago, I mentioned my battle against our backyard slug population. You responded with dozens of great ideas. One of them was using copper strips around planting areas which delivers an electrical shock to the slimy pests when they ooze over it. The idea of sending a “You aren’t welcome here” message without using toxic chemicals definitely appealed to me.
My husband read that zinc strips have been proven effective as well. Since zinc is significantly cheaper than copper, we decided to give it a shot. My husband picked up some rolls (nails are included) at our local home improvement store. It was priced at $25 for 50′. We used a 10%-off coupon, of course, so that helped lower the price a bit.
From what I have read, it is best to fix the strips vertically to prevent debris from getting on them. When the vertical strips are bent down at the top to create flanges, they are 95% effective at repelling slugs. They are also 100% effective at cutting your legs.
We are rebels at heart, with small, injury-prone children running around, so we opted to wrap the tops of our raised beds with the zinc strips instead. We are putting down gravel to create paths in between our raised beds. I think this will also help deter slugs from climbing into bed with our vegetable plants.
We have high hopes that these zinc ledges will create a barrier between our garden pests and plants. Even if they don’t work, we are really happy with how the finished beds look. Also, it was an easy way to cover the tops of our raised beds so soil doesn’t fall between the plastic and the lumber.
Have any of you had success with copper, zinc, or other non-toxic slug solutions?
How To Create a Slug Barrier for your Raised Bed
- Run a bead of adhesive along the top of your raised bed or garden containers.
- Roll the zinc or copper strip along the adhesive, nailing in place every 2-3′.
- Cut the strip at the corner. My husband used metal snips, but the zinc was thin enough that regular scissors would also work.
- Secure each zinc strip corner to each other and the raised bed post using a single nail. Snip the edges and fold down to create a neat corner.
- Step back to admire your work. Make sure you keep the horizontal surface clean of debris and try not to let plants hang over the side for the best results.
For an even easier application, you can purchase products like Corry’s Slug & Snail Copper Tape Barrier (Amazon) that would look nice both as a garden accent and as a slug deterrent. This would work well for smaller pots or containers. However, the price tag is higher, and the life span would be shorter. Does anyone have experience using the tape products?
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The photo with the slug lounging on the zinc strip makes me wonder if you found this an effective solution. Can you tell me if it has worked?
I went to buy Z Stop online, and found the following warning in the product details:
proposition 65 reasons:N/A
WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. http://www.p65warnings.ca.gov
Lol, everything is known by the state of California to cause cancer, you can safely disregard that warning from the overprotective nanny state of CA.
Diatomaceous earth sprinkled on inside and outside edges. Reasonably priced so it can be replaced after rains.
Hi Emily. I use copper tape on my raised beds and they work brilliantly. No problems with slugs or snails for the past 3 years.
Emily, your raised beds are beautiful!
Emily, I get excellent results using disposable foil pie plates filled with beer; however, I also go hunting at night, after dark, with a flashlight, sharp pointed stick, and a bucket of soapy water! This is a very cheap and effective method of riding the property of slugs. You will find many, many more slugs after dark than you would guess could possibly be hanging around! Oh, the soapy water makes emptying the bucket of slugs easy peasy.
Slug Shield all the way! This is a 3-DIMENSIONAL barrier which is far superior to copper tape (or anything else for that matter!).
They last all season, can be re-used, and are 100% non-toxic.
Beer totally works.
I’ve seen on Pinterest to glue pennies all around the ledge of the beds, seems to be cheap, non sharp, just time consuming. Anyone tried this? I’ve also heard a bowl of beer buried level to the ground is a slug attractor trap… Both of these are on my to do list once they find my garden!
I have tried copper wire (cheaper version of gluing pennies) and didn’t work.
The beer works great. It attracts slugs and they drown in there. I let the tub sit for a week until the beer completely evaporate and put in a new one. Some suggest fishing them out daily… gross!
I’ve had curious racoons emptying my beer tub though.
The only thing worse than a curious raccoon is a drunk raccoon!!! lol Funny!
Emily from Frugal Living NW says
I wonder if the wire was too thin? I read that the copper/zinc surface needed to be at least 1″ across to be effective.
And I’d be up for trying beer traps if this method doesn’t work. So far, we’ve had the zinc in place for 3 weeks, and I haven’t seen any sign of slug damage yet. Even on my lettuce, which is usually an all-you-can-eat salad bar for slugs.
Kate from Frugal Living NW says
I’m going to try the copper stuff. Slugs had a field day on our strawberries. One very unhappy 7 year old resides in our house.
Does the beer attract ants? I tried the cornmeal method once and no slugs just tons of ants crawled into the jar.
Doesn’t seem to attract ants. I usually find a lot of random insects drowned in there along with the slugs, but not particularly many ants. I think the insects are probably attracted to liquid in general.