Most people, given the choice of beer or collard greens, take the beer. Miraculously, so do slugs. It’s miraculous because, although beer only kills people if it’s drunk in truly heroic quantities or combined with the operation of heavy machinery, it kills slugs almost on contact.

Or that’s what I’d heard. I’d been told that, if you put a dish of beer in your garden, the slugs will climb in, drink, and die, but I didn’t believe it. I thought it advice along the lines of warding off vampires with garlic, or using tiger spray on city buses.

Then we got slugs. Bazillions of slugs, turning our collards into lace. I was ready to try anything.

We had Sam Adams and Smithwick’s in the fridge, and I figured that, since I like Smithwick’s, the slugs might, too. I was about to open one and pour it into my four little dishes when Kevin, who also likes Smithwick’s, asked me what I was doing. “I’m baiting my slug traps,” I told him.

“Don’t we have some Sam Adams?” he asked. I told him we did, but I was afraid the slugs might not go for Sam lager. After all, Kevin doesn’t care for it. Kevin, though, was pretty sure slugs, if they drank at all, would drink anything. “Let’s keep the Smithwick’s for the vertibrates.”

So yesterday evening, I poured a bottle of Sam Adams into my dishes and distributed them through the collard patch. This morning, I went out to check them, and I was floored. Not only do slugs drink beer, they text all their slug friends when they discover it. “Party! Free beer in the collard patch!” I counted 34 beer-soaked dead slugs in the dishes.

When the slugs had the upper hand in my garden, I thought of them as wily garden pests I was matching wits with. Now that I know they willingly crawl into dishes of stuff that kills them, my opinion of them has gone down several notches, and I’m figuring they’ll drink anything. Next time, it’s Coors Light.

8 people are having a conversation about “Slugfest!

  1. I guess if I want that beer, I’ll have to bring my straw and hang out in your collard greens matching wits with the slugs.

  2. How about rolling those beer-soaked little dead guys in some flour spiced with tarragon, and fry in garlic butter. That way, you’d be eating-what-eats-off-the-land! Another idea, did you offer them to the chickens?

  3. Slugs just bring out the comedian in everyone now, don’t they?

    The chickens drank some of the beer, but they didn’t seem interested in the slugs. Perhaps they prefer them before they’re pickled.

  4. I have heard that the absolute best way to clean a cast-iron pan is to set it in an area where there are slugs, and let them eat everything that is stuck to it. I have not tested this.

  5. Ken — It’s hard to imagine slugs succeeding where scouring fails (I know you’re not supposed to scour cast iron, but I have resorted to it on occasion), but the real reason I’m not inclined to try this is that it’s pretty revolting. If anyone knows whether this works, please chime in.

  6. Hi,
    make slug manure and all your troubles will be gone.
    Take as many slugs as you can find (and the dead ones from your beertraps would be a good start). Throw them in to an old bucket of water. Put them aside in a sunny spot and leave for a while (like a week, or two). Disgusting stuff will be your richness. Now spray the liquid over your veggies or, if this idea scares the cabbages out of you, poor some around the stems. Et voilá, no more life snails and sluggs. It seems to be that they smell the dead snails and that keeps them away. We had a veggie farm for 5 years and this worked like a charm and didn’t cost any beer.

  7. Strangely enough, I relied on this method for a long time until I noticed that it wasn’t quite working. I went out one night with a flashlight and watched the a**holes crawl right back out of the saucers. Yes, it was deep enough to drown them.

    Now, I trap them with wood boards or rocks and feed the small ones to the chicken (they can’t get the big ones down).

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