How to Compost Slugs


Slugs are the bane of the gardener's existence. Slimy and stealthy, these little pests can devour precious plants in a nighttime. Slugs cannot survive in the sunny heat of the day, so they hide in the underbellies of rocks, leaves and large foliage until nightfall or evening rains. Commercial baits have some effectiveness against them, and slugs are the recipient of many housewife remedies such as beer baths left in shallow dishes, the gruesome salt death and using wet newsprint or carpet squares to collect them. If there is an advantage to slug control, it is the ease with which you can catch them and dispose of them--probably the most effective control method of all.

Step 1

Collect slugs as you find them in the early evening, early morning or right after a rain. Look around rocks and near plants such as hostas or new seedlings. Use wet newspaper or a carpet square in the garden to collect slugs. Slugs can then be handpicked from the underside. Spraying water on the sidewalk at dusk is another way to draw them out.

Step 2

Toss slugs into a container of soapy warm water to kill them. Live slugs in the compost bin are actually advantageous as they help in the decomposition process. However, the possibility of spreading slug eggs to tender plants in compost leads most gardeners to kill them when found in composting material.

Step 3

Dump dead slugs into your compost pile along with grass clippings, leaves, fruit and veggie scraps, shredded newsprint, coffee grinds, nonweed plant matter and clean eggshells.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not add slugs that have been exposed to chemical slug baits to your compost bin. Never add chemical slug baits to the compost bin as they can kill other creatures that are vital to the decomposition process. If you are concerned about slug eggs, treat the compost after it has been spread, but a properly cured compost should have burned up all eggs in the heat produced by decomposition.

Things You'll Need

  • Bowl of warm soapy water


  • Iowa State Extension: Slug It Out with Slugs in Your Garden
  • Oregon State University Extension: Slugs
  • Lanshire County: Home Composting: Mini Beasts

Who Can Help

  • Ohio State University Extension: Slugs and Their Management
Keywords: pest control, slug removal, nonchemical slug control

About this Author

Bobbi Keffer attended Kent State University, studying education but soon found her true love to be in the garden. She prides herself on her frugal skills, re-using, recycling, and re-inventing her whimsical style in her home and garden.