The Fan-Favorite Alcoholic Beverage That'll Banish Slugs From Your Garden

Using beer as a trap for slugs is a popular and effective home remedy according to many gardeners. Slugs are naturally drawn to the hoppy scent of beer, which can sometimes take on the odor of decaying plant matter. This alluring smell causes these gastropods to crawl into the container-like gastropub filled with beer, become trapped, and meet their yeasty demise. However, not everyone wants to waste beer on yard pests, and if you're not one to sacrifice a few ounces of your favorite craft brew, there is an inexpensive alternative that works just as well. To create a beer substitute, start by combining one cup of water, one teaspoon of sugar, and 1/2 a teaspoon of dry yeast in a jar. Mix the ingredients together thoroughly, and prepare a fresh batch whenever it's needed. 

There's no reason to keep your beer trap out during the day, since slugs are nighttime feeders. This also prevents any pets from snooping around and deciding to taste test. That being said, make sure to replenish the trap with fresh liquid bait every evening. Rainwater can also dilute the solution, which will make it less effective. 

How to make a slug beer trap

There are a couple of ways to create slug beer traps. First, you'll need to grab an old cottage cheese, yogurt, or margarine tub from your recycle bin. Bury the container so that it's flush with the ground, add two or three inches of beer, and leave it out overnight. Alternatively, you can cut a few holes in the lids and create an enclosed beer chamber. The slugs will enter through the holes but will be unable to find their way out. 

Another more intricate design uses a soda or water bottle. Cut a few holes in the tops of the bottle, so that the slugs will have a way to get in. Fill the bottle about ⅓ of the way with beer, and bury it so that there's about half an inch to an inch of space between the holes and the ground. You can place a stick or twig inside that will help any beneficial bugs or critters escape. 

The other option is to use an old jam jar or beer can. Bury it so that there's about one inch exposed and fill it ⅓ of the way with beer. In the morning, just dump the container or jar and start with fresh beer.

This hack has its limitations

Unfortunately, these traps only attract slugs within a limited range, so they'll need to be placed approximately every 8 to 10 feet, which can be a bit of a chore to clean up every day. Another downside worth noting is that a majority of slugs that visit the makeshift bar simply stop for a slug-sized pint and then continue on their way without any harm (but maybe a nice buzz). Some slugs might not know when to stop and those are the ones that end up in the tank, but there's no scientific reason as to why some slugs go belly up while others take a sample and go on their merry way. 

Another pitfall is that the smell of beer will attract slugs from neighboring yards. So you might end up with a substantial increase in your slug population as the word spreads that there's a brewpub nearby. It seems that the beer may actually give the slugs the munchies, which will undoubtedly wreak havoc on your poor petunias. So while this particular hack isn't a surefire way to decimate your slug population, it might put a small dent in it ... but at the expense of your garden.