How Beer Can Keep Pesky Slugs Out Of Your Garden

If you've ever noticed that slugs seem to swarm specific plants in your garden like they're the hottest new club in town, then perhaps the thought of using beer to trap them isn't such a bad idea. This is because the ingredients found in this favored adult beverage of choice hold a certain allure for slugs and other slimy earthbound mollusks.

Slugs have a keen sense of smell, which is why your fragrant herbs, plump succulents, and nectar-laden flowers tend to disappear overnight. However, when it comes to chowing down on anything that carries nutritional benefits, slugs are pretty much opportunivores. But that doesn't mean they don't have preferences. In addition to the things you don't want them eating, these monopods aren't about to turn away from organic or decaying matter that gives off a rather funky and odoriferous smell. Beer's fermented, pungent aroma is one that slugs just happen to prefer. So at night when the air is cool and slugs are on the prowl for an easy meal, their retractable olfactory tentacles will pick up on the alluring smell of beer instead of your basil.

Slugs aren't lushes, they just like stinky things

As previously mentioned, slugs have an affinity not only for pleasant-smelling produce but also some downright disgusting decaying organic matter. Fermented smells fall under the latter category. When fruits and plants break down, they release yeast and sugar, which signals an all-you-can-eat feeding frenzy for slugs. The distinct fermented odor emitted by beer aligns with their instinctual eating behavior. 

Interestingly, slugs aren't choosy about the alcohol content in the beer, so it's safe to say that they aren't seeking a quick buzz after a long day of slug life. Instead, they are attracted to the volatile compounds present in beer. Therefore, a higher sugar and yeast content acts like a scent-sational beacon for them. Among the different types of brew, lagers in particular seem to be a beer that draws them in for their last drink. 

If you're not inclined to share your beer, you can make your own faux-beer mixture by blending one teaspoon of dried yeast, one teaspoon of white sugar, and one cup of warm water. Once the mixture froths, you can set up your faux-beer trap and relish in the fact that your plants will no longer go missing in the middle of the night.