Can Slugs Drown and How to Get Rid of Them

Last Updated on May 20, 2023 by Ellen Christian

Can slugs drown? And, if so, how can you get rid of slugs easily? Here’s everything you need to know to get rid of slugs naturally.

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Have you ever gone out to the garden and come across a slug on your plants? Does anyone else hate these slimy things as much as I do?

Can Slugs Drown and How to Get Rid of Them


Can Slugs Drown

So, you might be wondering why you should care if you have slugs in your garden. They might appear to move slowly, but slugs can devour your precious garden plants in no time flat. If left alone to their own devices, slugs can easily munch their way through your yard and garden, creating havoc and plant damage that you will struggle to reverse. So, what is the best slug killer? Keep reading. 

What do slugs eat?

Slugs eat just about anything. They like leaves from live plants as well as mushrooms and lichens and other living and decaying organic matter. They will also eat tomatoes, cucumbers and a wide variety of other garden produce that I’d rather eat myself.

Where do slugs live?

Slugs like dead and decaying organic matter and they like plants. So, you will find that they like to live in your garden. But, most specifically, they will live around areas where you mulch or you have rotting leaves and vegetation. To discourage them, remove the areas they like to live in whenever possible.

So, since they like damp and wet areas, can slugs drown naturally? They can but won’t without a little bit of help.

While I know that there are toxic chemicals I can use to get rid of slugs, I’d prefer not to put that in my garden. So, if you’re wondering how to get rid of slugs naturally, you’re in luck. There are a few options. Take a look at these tips on how to keep slugs out of your garden, and see what actions you need to take to keep the slugs far away.

If you do want a garden additive to use in your garden, this product is rated safe for pets and wildlife.

pink impatiens

Where do slugs live during the day?

Most often, you will find slugs early in the morning or you will see the damage they’ve left behind when you go outside. During the day, slugs will hide underneath the rocks and decaying vegetation in your garden. They will come out at night to eat. 

Can slugs drown after a heavy rain? No. The slugs will come up out of the rain-soaked ground or lower areas in your garden. They will climb onto the plants or planters if they need to.

Can Slugs Drown and How to Get Rid of Them

How to stop slugs eating plants

One of the most common ways to get rid of slugs naturally involves drowning them. So if you’re wondering can slugs drown, the answer appears to be yes. Here are some helpful slug repelling tips to get you started on a slug free garden you can be proud of!

Can Slugs Drown and How to Get Rid of Them

Set beer traps

Gardeners have sworn by the beer trap trick for decades, so it is worth trying. Slugs are attracted to the smell of beer, but they are unable to survive in it once they fall in. To catch slugs in your garden, place a shallow dish of beer near the plants that slugs are attracted to. If you wish, you can place the trap right near the base. Can slugs swim? No, they cannot. 

The slugs will smell the beer and crawl in, but they will be unable to crawl out. Dump out your slug traps as needed, and refill to start all over again. You may also need to wash/refill after heavy rains or severe weather. So, can slugs drown in the beer once they’re trapped? Yes. 

Do slugs drown in water?

The better question might be can slugs drown in water. The answer would be yes they can. But, it’s unlikely that they will be drawn to a bowl of water to crawl into it. You can pick them off the plant and drop them in the water if you want to. But, if you are going to touch them anyway, it seems like a needless step.

a hydrangea flower

What plants do slugs eat?

There isn’t a huge list of plants that don’t appeal to slugs, but you can at least keep a few plants in mind that aren’t a slug’s first choice. Poppies and hydrangeas are both pretty slug resistant, so if slugs are a huge issue in your garden you can stick to these plants for starters.

Orange peel slug trap

To make an orange peel “trap” simply take an orange half and remove the fruit. You can then place the orange half in the garden turned over, to create a hut for the slugs to crawl into. Once the slugs crawl in, they will hang out in the cool shade. You can then take the orange and throw it away, slugs and all!

Can Slugs Drown and How to Get Rid of Them

Eggshells repel slugs

Slugs have very thin and delicate skin, so they need to be careful when crawling along. Try crushing eggshells and placing them around the areas where slugs tend to be a problem. The slugs will not be able to crawl over the shells and will in-turn change their direction.

If you don’t have a lot of eggshells to use, you can buy eggshells in bulk.

Placing a ring of eggshells around your plant base can certainly help keep slugs from climbing onto them, plus the eggshells will give the soil a natural calcium boost which is always a good thing! Here are some tips to use eggshells in the garden.

Do you know how to keep gardening simple so that it remains something you truly enjoy rather than something that becomes overwhelming?

Don’t give slugs a place to hide

You could be running a slug hotel and not even know it. Slugs love dark and damp hiding places and will use these locations to mate and repopulate. Ew! Don’t give them these places to hide. Keep your garden area clean and clear, remove all piles of wet leaves, rotting wood, and yard debris. This way, slugs will not have the option to get cozy.

Removing this old and rotting yard debris can also help keep other pests such as beetles out of your garden and will also make your garden a more beautiful and safe place to visit!

Fall Bird Feeding Tips

What eats slugs?

Placing bird feeders around your garden can help keep slugs under control. How? Well, when the birds come to dine on the seed they will also spot the slugs and think they have found an all you can eat buffet. If you don’t have or want a bird feeder, you can always opt for a small birdbath.

Can slugs drown in birdbaths?

Small water features in your garden can attract other creatures such as toads and frogs, who are also happy to help you devour slugs. While the toads and frogs are there, they may help eat some other pests such as mosquitoes and flies as well. So, while it’s not likely your slug will drown there, it’s good to add them for other reasons.

Lettuce attracts crickets to your garden

Use a natural slug repellent coffee ground mix

You might already be using coffee grounds in your compost, but did you know it can help repel slugs as well? Try sprinkling coffee grounds around the base of plants that slugs are attracted to. They will be repulsed by the smell and hopefully find somewhere else to dine.

Coffee grounds are beneficial to plants and your soil as well, so by using them for this trick you get double the benefits. To make it even more effective, mix it with eggshells.

a slug crawling on the ground

Are slugs bad to touch?

One of the quickest ways to get ahead of slugs is to pick them off by hand as soon as you see them. This may not sound pleasant, but it beats using chemically based pest control in your garden. While you won’t want this to be your only method of slug prevention, it is good to add it to the list.

While they may not be bad to touch, you might want to wear gardening gloves. And, wash your hands as soon as you go inside just in case.

Can Slugs Drown and How to Get Rid of Them

In summary, can slugs drown?

Don’t let slugs devour your garden. Consider these tips on how to keep slugs out of your garden and see what a difference they can make. With these slug repelling tips in your arsenal, slugs won’t stand a chance!

  • Slugs can drown but won’t be attracted to natural standing pools of water.
  • They are attracted to damp, leafy areas of your garden.
  • Attract birds, toads, and frogs that naturally eat slugs.
  • Make a beer trap to attract slugs and let them drown.

If you do want a garden additive to use in your garden, this product is rated safe for pets and wildlife.

More gardening articles

16 thoughts on “Can Slugs Drown and How to Get Rid of Them”

  1. I go out in early morning and hand pick the slugs. They are voracious on my hosta. Then a short walk to the creek where the ducks live.
  2. Long ago I had a large nursery. Slugs and snails were very happy there...until the ducks arrived! They had voracious appetites for the pests and cleared them out quickly . If you can have ducks, your problem is solved.
  3. Slugs are a menace in Nairobi where I am especially in the kitchen. They love the smell of fish, so I leave water, left over from washing fish. I find them drowned in the morning.
  4. I pick mine up with a trowel. I put in a jar with a bit off Dr Bonners soap and water. Now what do I do with these

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