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How to Kill Slugs in Flower Beds

By Tammy Wood ; Updated September 21, 2017

Slugs in a flower bed are frustrating to the gardener and harmful to the flowers. Once an effective slug removal system is used, avoid re-infestation by utilizing a barrier system around the flowers individually or the entire flower bed. Whether you choose organic methods, use of chemical pesticides or homemade remedies, the slug problem is controllable.

Use an empty, open tuna fish can filled with beer to attract the slugs. The yeast in the beer is the scent that attracts the slug. Bury this can in and around your plants. Make sure that the depth of the can is deep enough that the trapped slugs cannot climb out. Every two days, remove the cans, dump the slugs out, and replace the cans in the flowerbed. These cans are essentially the same as a beer trap, which can be purchased in different forms or kits at a gardening supply center.

Purchase copper flashing or strips of copper metal. The copper gives a small electric shock to the slug, working as a deterrent more than a repellent, so it does not kill the slug--rather, it only repels it from the flowers. These can be purchased in a kit or can be made at home. The purchased kits will supply round copper strips, which are used to surround the base of the flowering plant or straight copper strips to tuck around the entire flower bed. Using copper strips is a good choice if you want to prevent slugs from getting to the plants--not remove ones that are already there.

Choosing household ammonia to treat the flower bed area that is infested with slugs is an effective repellent when applied directly to the slugs and soil. Mix the household ammonia with water at the ratio of 1 :4 to 1:10 and thoroughly soak the soil in the affected areas. Household ammonia will not hurt your flowering plants; it contains nitrogen, which is a fertilizer for your flowering plants.

Purchase a slug bait that contains iron phosphate, which is available in both powder and pellet form. The pellets may be attractive to domestic dogs or cats as food and are hazardous to both humans and pets if ingested. Both the iron phosphate powder and pellets are effective in killing slugs in a flower bed. Use the pellets around the base of the plants; use the powder in the entire flower bed area and in larger areas where slugs are a problem.

Use a pesticide slug killer for immediate death of the slimy pests. Pesticides that are labeled specifically for killing slugs, contain a chemical called a molluscicide. which kills on contact and is extremely effective. The pesticides come in a powder, pellet or liquid form, all with the same effectiveness and ingredients.

Read the label and review that metaldehyde or methiocarb are main ingredients in the pesticide slug killer. These are both part of a group of chemicals called carbamates--which includes herbicides, fungicides and, insecticides--to kill slugs.


Things You Will Need

  • Small empty tin cans (tuna)
  • Beer
  • Copper metal strips
  • Household ammonia
  • Iron phosphate
  • Slug and snail pellets containing molluscicide


  • If you want to go truly organic, purchase chickens or ducks for your flower garden as they will eat slugs.
  • Read the label on any slug removal kits


  • When choosing a chemical pesticide, follow the label directions exactly and be conscious of the warnings for accidental ingestion by humans and/or pets.


About the Author


Tammy Wood has been writing for more than 15 years, and has been published in the Chicken Soup For the Soul books, "Parenting" magazine and several websites. Wood serves as the director of online marketing for 12 organizations and creative director for BTC Interactive, a newsletter and article archive. She received a degree in business management from the University of Washington.