Setting Up a Slug Pub

Setting Up a Slug Pub

Posted by: Darren in Grow Your Own
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Slugs. Ugly, slimy, inedible and therefore useless. Apparently their evolutionary niche involves consuming dead vegetable matter. Which would be a useful evolutionary niche to occupy, if only they stuck to the dead stuff. But no, the evil little bastards (excuse my language, but I’m really not fond) had to get ambitious and start chomping on fresh, tasty foliage, flowers, young leaf crops, you name it.

So: slugs must die. Snails as well; they might be marginally less unsightly, but they’re still pests.

One highly effective gastropod mollusc control method (which I know a lot of people swear by) is the night-time hunt. A torch, a pair of rubber gloves and then either a bucket of salty water or a pair of sharp scissors; the latter resulting in a tasty treat for the local blackbirds.

Not being much for late-night perambulations myself, I decided to opt for another tried-and-tested method: the slug trap, or slug pub.

Very easy to set up:


Start with a sturdy, solid plastic tub – in this case a recycled snap-lid food container that had perhaps seen one too many leftover lasagnes – and dig a tub-sized hole. I did try using a recycled supermarket veg tray last year but it was a bit too flimsy and risked snapping apart when full (of dissolved slug / beer / mud soup, which isn’t something you want to spill down your front…)

Next, half-fill the tub with beer. Being a bit of a real ale fanatic, I can’t bring myself to use anything decent, but luckily Sainsbury’s Basics Bitter – 98p a four-pack, 2.1% ABV and, in my humble etc. pretty much fit only for slug traps – does the trick quite nicely.

Then – and this is the important bit – cover the tub with a lid. Slugs love cool, dark places to hide up during the day, so putting a lid on the trap will increase your chance that they’ll hang around long enough to fall in. We used an old roof tile left over from the extension a few years ago – making sure to leave a gap at one end for the slugs to crawl in (hence the handy rock at the top of photo #1).

They work, too. One week after placing a slug pub at either end of the newly-planted swiss chard, spinach and kale patch, I’m happy to report that there’s been only minimal leaf-damage. And the slug pubs have a small (but hopefully soon-to-increase) number of dead-drunk, drowned denizens:

You know, I can think of worse ways to go…

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Darren Turpin

Gardener at Backyard Kitchen Garden
A passionate gardener with a speciality in growing fruit and vegetables on a budget!

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