My Hostas and Slugs

Camila Grottesi

My hostas are up and looking beautiful so far.  I only say “so far” because last year I had what appeared to be a slug infestation.  The first and only visible sign I noticed were holes in the leaves of my prized possessions.  I never saw any actual slugs but that is largely in part because these creatures are active at night and retreat during the day in mulch and on the underside of boards and rocks. 

I want to keep the upper hand on these pests so after some thorough research, I’ve identified some ways to combat the slugs:

Diatomaceous Earth

 This product is widely available in your local home improvement stores.  This all natural mineral is made from tiny fossilized water plants, called diatoms.  To slugs, it is lethal because it contains microscopic razor sharp edges that cut through their protective layering, which in turn dries them up and kills them.  It should be noted that it isn’t harmful to our beneficial earthworms. 


Crushed eggshells will mimic the results of the Diatomaceous Earth in that the sharp edges of the eggs will tear the slug’s protective layering, resulting in their death.

Stale Beer

Slugs are said to be attracted to the stale ale and will drown in it.  Pour some beer into a pie pan or other small container and place next to the slug location.  I hate to waste a beer, but….

Copper Barriers

The metal ions in copper are said to give slugs an electrical shock.  There are mixed opinions on the effectiveness of this treatment.  Take a strip of copper and place in the soil around the perimeter of your plant, making sure none of the plant leaves are touching the ground.  Otherwise, the slug still has access to this plant. 

Citrus Rinds

Slugs are attracted to citrus rinds.  Place halved orange or grapefruit rinds near the vulnerable plants.  You must be sure to check the rinds daily and dispose of the slugs in your own manner.

Preventative Ways to Control Slugs

  • Keep your garden beds free of leaves, weeds, boards and other objects that make a safe haven for them.
  • Keep your lawn edges trimmed.  Slugs will seek refuge in places such as this.
  • Keep bushes and shrubs trimmed, not allowing them to touch the ground.


I’m assuming since I had a slug problem last year that I will be blessed with their presence again this year.  So at my first signs of infestation, I will crack open a beer!  Good luck to all of you and Cheers!

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