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How to Get Rid of Snails & Slugs That Eat Hosta Plants

By Melissa Lewis ; Updated September 21, 2017

Snails and slugs like to snack on garden plants, and hostas are particular favorites. They eat the leaves and can cause great harm to plants. The pesky critters can chew plants to the ground if left unimpeded. There are ways to eliminate the snails and slugs and save your prized plants.

Replace organic mulches, such as bark, wood chips and pine needles with inorganic mulches, such as gravel or pebbles. Snails and slugs prefer and often live under organic mulches.

Remove the slugs and snails from your hosta bed manually--at night or in the early mornings is ideal. Wear gloves, and then stick them in a bucket. Throw them away or for the faint-hearted, set them loose in the woods or on a farm. You can also boil them, and then in a few days when the smell is unbearable, sprinkle the water and remains around the planting bed, but not on the hostas themselves.

Set up slug and snail traps. There are commercial traps available or you can make your own. Bury a tin can near each hosta plant. Then fill it with about an inch of beer. The snails and slugs will fall in and die.

Purchase a worm called a nematode worm. It will attack a slug and enter its body. It will kill it and then reproduce. Then more nematodes go on the hunt for slugs. This is best started in the spring.


Things You Will Need

  • Inorganic mulch
  • Bucket
  • Traps
  • Nematode worm

About the Author


Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has also written for various online publications. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.