How to Get Rid of Slugs and Earwigs With Beer
Using Beer to Kill Earwigs and Slugs
Earwigs and slugs are two of the most common garden pests. They can go by unnoticed in small numbers, but once they multiply, they can ruin an entire garden. In my experience, every time an earwig problem pops up, slugs have been found (and vice versa). Sugar and yeast attract both of them, so beer is a way to kill two birds with one stone. It's easy to get rid of these little pests, and this method is a great reason to knock back a few beers.
You can certainly find other natural and green pesticides, but this has to be the most fun option. I probably should add: please drink responsibly! The beer is to kill slugs and earwigs, not your liver! Anyway, just grab a twelve pack and tell your wife that you invited your drinking buddies over to help with the yard work.
What You'll Need:
- 12-pack beer cans (needs to be cans)
- Small shovel
How to Use Beer as a Natural Pesticide
The trick to this method is easy and cheap.
- Dig a hole roughly the size of the can wherever you have broad-leaf plants. If you have a major infestation, use one can per two plants. If it's only a minor situation, you can get by with one can per four plants.
- Drink two-thirds of each beer can.
- Bury the cans in the holes you dug earlier. Level the dirt around the top (see photo).
- The cans should be emptied as needed, and at least every couple of days depending on your pest population.
- When watering your plants, remove the cans from the ground and be careful not to flood the holes.
Things to Note:
- Earwigs and slugs are drawn to the sugar or yeast in the beer. Because the can is nearly empty, the bugs fall into the liquid, get trapped, and drown. This certainly isn't a prevention method, but it will help if the damage has already been done.
- You could consider this an organic pesticide if you drink organic beer! Even if the brand you use isn't organic, beer is safer than many pesticides on the market. You don't have to worry about your dogs or kids being around!
How Do You Know If It's Earwigs or Slugs?
You can see the type of damage typically caused by earwigs and slugs in the photo above. Smaller slugs munch on the outer parts of the leaf, while earwigs go to town on the rest. Slugs may be cute and fun to play with, but they can cause serious damage to broad-leaf vegetables like eggplant, zucchini, kale, chard, and cucumber. Another way to tell is if you have slugs is to look for slimy lines across leaves too hard for them to eat.
If you are still unsure of what bugs you're dealing with, sneak out to the garden in the early morning (between 2-4am) with a flashlight to see what's eating your plants. If you are unable to determine what they are, you can snap a photo and look it up online.