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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How to Build A Garden Beer Slug and Snail Trap

How to Build a Garden Slug Beer Trap
(My 2010 Garden was Hit Hard by Slugs)

Slug and Snail Garden Damage - The Rusted Garden Blog

The evidence is my Bok Choy! Bok Choy!. No it's not a war cry to attack and destroy slugs. It is the casualty. All the holes in the leaves are from snails and slugs. You will notice coarse sand around the base. It didn't help. You will notice pulverized lime on the leaves. It didn't help. So I added beer traps.

The truth is... managing slugs in the garden takes a multiple step approach. I also recommend the use of iron phosphate along with slug traps. The goal is to greatly reduce the numbers of snails and slugs in your garden.

The Slug Beer Trap Supplies:

Slug Beer Trap Supplies - The Rusted Garden Blog

You can purchase foil tins at your local grocery store. The shape and depth of the tins doesn't really matter. I suggest tins that are 1 - 3 inches deep. Any bottle of beer and some yeast is also needed to build the trap.The slugs are attracted to the yeast. A little extra yeast sprinkled in with the beer helps to bait the trap.

Selecting the Trap Location:

Damaged Garden Vegetables - The Rusted Garden Blog

Select a location that is fairly close to the crops you want to protect. I tried protecting the above vegetables with coarse sand. The heads in the middle are Bok Choy or Chinese Cabbage. They were fiercely attacked by the slugs and I am keeping them as a casualty crop. I let the slugs attack them and they pay less attention to my other crops. Right between the cabbages is where I will build the beer trap. By the way... sand does not work!

Placing the Beer Trap:
Place the Slug Tin - The Rusted Garden Blog

There isn't much to say but dig a hole and drop the tray in. The edges of the tin should be flush with the garden soil. You want it to be easy for the slug to crawl or fall into the trap. Once they fall in, they drown.

Baiting the Trap:

Baiting the Slug Trap - The Rusted Garden Blog

Fill the trap about 1/2 the way full with beer and drop in a bit of yeast. The trap is set. Remember the yeast helps attract the slugs and snails to the beer trap.

My Trap Locations:

Spinach and Parsnip Bed - The Rusted Garden Blog

The Cabbage Bed  - The Rusted Garden Blog

Peas and Bok Choy - The Rusted Garden Blog

Maintaining the Traps:

I found I have to change the beer every 2-3 days. Three days might be pushing it. If you wait longer it doesn't do much more than sour and smell bad. Don't forget to add a pinch of yeast to the trap when you change the beer.

Beer traps work well and should be part of your attack in your war against slugs. I have not found a way to kill every slug but found you can really decrease their numbers in the garden with these traps. Yes, toss out the dead slugs and beer when you put in fresh ingredients. The compost been is fine. Iron phosphate is a great tool against slugs and snails. I use it now more so than the beer traps. It is less work for me.

How to Use Iron Phosphate to Battle Slugs and Snails

How to Build A Beer Slug and Snail Trap

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