How to Get Rid of Slugs | Eggshells in the Garden

2 Materials
5 Minutes

There is nothing more frustrating than planting a garden and having it ravaged by pests. Several weeks ago, I noticed that my strawberries were beginning to ripen. I was so excited to pick my first strawberries of the season, until I examined them closely and noticed that the slugs had beat me to them. Have you ever wondered how to get rid of slugs? Several years ago the slugs were feasting on my tomatoes and I decided to put eggshells in my garden. It’s a simple but very effective way to control slugs.

Slugs are night feeders, so you may never actually see them. All you’ll see of them in the morning is their havoc – bean and lettuce leaves with holes in them, and perfectly ripened strawberries riddled with deep tunnels.

How to Get Rid of Slugs

Slugs can really wreak havoc in a garden. They seem to have a never-ending appetite. 

Slugs and snails are part of the mollusk family, and the only real difference between the two is that snails have shells and slugs don’t.

And if you have one of the two species, you usually have the other, since they both enjoy the same environments. We have not seen snails in our yard, but the slugs can really be a nuisance.

Their bodies are soft, moist and covered with slime to protect them from drying out and dying.

Like all animals, even slugs have their place. In the wild, they help compost soil. You just don’t need that many of them “helping” you in your garden.

Should You Kill Slugs?

In my opinion, it is not necessary to kill slugs. There are rational ways to deal with the pests. You do not need to fight them directly. It is easy enough to ward them off passively; for example, with barriers against slugs and snails.

Slugs are very important. They provide food for all sorts of mammals, birds, earthworms, insects and they are part of the natural balance. Upseting that balance by removing them and we can do a lot of harm.

Eggshells in the Garden

Our favorite way of how to get rid of slugs is to add eggshells in the garden. Each time you crack an egg open, instead of tossing the shell into the trash, drop it into a container. As the shells fill the container, I simply push down on them to crush them and make more room. Once the container is full, you are ready to use those eggshells in the garden.

I have been concerned about bacteria that may be on the shells, so I bake my shells before adding them to the garden. Now, there are may people who don’t worry about sanitizing them, but it makes me feel better. To sanitize, place them on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 350°.

Crush the shells into small bits, just use a rolling pin or wooden spoon. 

Scatter Crushed Eggshells Around Plants

Sprinkle the crushed shells around the base of your plants. The sharp eggshells are said to deter slugs and other soft-bodied bugs from feasting on your garden.

Side note: Strawberry plants grow well with the addition of natural potassium from the eggshells.

Do eggshells help in the garden? Absolutely! Using eggshells in the garden can boost your garden’s productivity — and it won’t cost a dime! Eggshells are a free byproduct of cooking in most households.

Instead of tossing them in the trash, use eggshells to improve your garden soil and to deter pests.

Using Eggshells to Improve Your Soil

Eggshells add calcium to the soil. Tomato plants love the addition of calcium to the soil.

Add a small scoop of finely ground eggshells directly to individual planting holes when you’re planting your garden. 

To finely grind the eggshells, place them in a blender.

Add Eggshells to Your Compost

Can eggshells go in compost? Absolutely! Adding eggshells to your compost will boost the mineral content.

Eggshells that are crushed will break down fairly quickly, but you can still use the compost in your garden even if the shells are still intact.

No More 1/2 Eaten Strawberries, No More Slugs

This method of eggshells in the garden works wonders. It has taken care of my dilemma of how to get rid of slugs in my strawberries.

This week I was able to go out into my garden and harvest big, juicy strawberries without being half eaten by slugs. 

Do you struggle with slugs or snails in your garden? What have you used to control these pests?

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 6 questions
  • Erin Boland Davis
    on Jun 29, 2020

    I used egg shells & coffee grounds in my flower bed this year and recently noticed I didn’t have a mole invasion like I have other years. Could reducing the slugs, reduce the moles that feed on them? If so, I’m thrilled using egg shells instead of other pesticides or traps to rid both problems.

    • Sunny Side Design
      on Jun 30, 2020

      That’s awesome Erin. I don’t have a mole problem. But it’s all so interconnected.

  • Joannaling
    on Jul 2, 2020

    Are you covering the bed with eggshells? I Crushed and spreaded eggshells around the root and leaves, still have the bites from snail/slug. What do I miss?

    • Lisa West
      on Jul 5, 2020

      Your egg shells needs to be sharp. Slightly crushed. Maybe you crushed your shells to much. Add coffee grounds out before the eggs shells around the plants. Maybe that will help to deter them. Cayenne pepper helps deter alot of bugs in the garden as well as so,e rodents. It burns them they leave the area of the garden.

  • Kathy
    on Jul 4, 2020

    Do you think egg shells would deter snakes?

    or do you have any home remedies for getting rid of snakes. Don’t mind them outside but they tend to find their way inside also.

    • Lisa West
      on Jul 5, 2020

      Cayenne pepper, although those snakes hou want at the edge of your yard as they roll rodents and eat insects to. Spider they eat spiders. I hate spiders. Evil demonic being from hell as well as cave crickets ugh yuk yuk yuk!!!!!

Join the conversation

2 of 27 comments
  • William
    on Jul 10, 2020

    Here are more ideas

    Sink a few bowls or plates in the ground level with the surface. Fill the bowls/plates with (cheap) beer. The yeast attracts the slugs. They drink their fill and drown. Not their sorrows

    Anything you can make it uncomfortable for the slugs/snails to crawl on will deter them. A combination of solutions from everyone here should take care of them.

    Broken nutshells work in the same way as egg shells when getting rid of slugs. Break up the nutshells into small pieces, and create a protective barrier around your plants. Any slugs that come near your vegetables will soon turn the other way.

    Crushed egg shells work as a great home remedy of slugs. This is because slugs don’t like moving across sharp objects, although it isn’t not impossible for them to do, they just prefer not to. Break up the empty egg shells into small(ish) pieces and place around the flowers, plants, vegetables, and fruits you want to keep safe from slug damage.

    Ash and Cinders make a rough protective barrier, and the fine ash also acts as a desiccant that dries the slug out. Wood ash and cinders are preferable. Avoid direct contact with plants.

    Grit and Gravel. The sharp rasping edges of finely crushed ‘horticultural grit’ makes an excellent slug barrier. Coarser gravel is largely ineffective, other than for decorative purposes.

    Sandpaper. Cut rings of sandpaper and slip them round the stems of vulnerable plants.

    Sawdust makes a good coarse barrier around tender plants, also acting as a desiccant that dries the slug out. Hardwood sawdust is most effective, and some people recommend cedar or oak.

    Copper Rings or Discs. Solid copper rings/discs of various diameter, used to encircle single or small groups of plants to inflict a mild electric shock on the unsuspecting slug. Look for rings that clip together. These are easy to slip round established plant stems, or join together to form a larger barrier.

  • Sunny Side Design
    on Jul 11, 2020

    Thanks for the additional ideas William.

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