I can’t remember where I learned this trick. It was probably from my Grandfather, which means I saw it about 40 years ago and remembered it 30 years later when I started organic gardening. I don’t know how or why it works, but slugs and snails seem to have a nose for beer and will come from across the yard to drink themselves into their final resting place.
You will need a shallow ceramic dish and some beer. Use a glazed dish or the beer just fizzles and is absorbed into the pottery. The one’s shown in my photos are about 3/4″ deep and are pot bottoms for flower pots.
You will want to use the cheapest, smelliest beer possible. I use Red Oval Classic, Pearl, or whatever I can find on sale and occasionally will sample it for quality. Since we make our own organic beer I sometimes use that if I have a bottle that went flat.
Push the tray down into the dirt so it’s easier for the slugs to get over the rim and fill it with beer close to the top. Then just walk away. Resist the temptation to wait for the slugs to come. As fast as slugs will move to get some beer, it still takes quite a while.
These two photos are from last season. I put out three trays and the first night caught hundreds of slugs. Per dish I think it was something like 120, 80, and 5. The containers were fairly close together so I don’t understand why they weren’t more evenly distributed, unless they were unevenly congregating in a secret slug lair.
Slug Tavern Beer Trap by Brad Rowland is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.