SLUGS! How do I get rid of them?

How bad are slugs for bonsai? Up where I live (out east of Seattle), we get a ton of slugs. So many slugs. And I’m really coming to hate them. Besides the slimy trails they leave behind, they love to eat the organic fertilizer I use in paper tea bags, and some of the more ambitious ones crawl up into the foliage of my deciduous trees and munch on the leaves. But other than being annoying and gross, are they bad for the trees?

I’ve used slug bait (Sluggo) which has phosphate as the active ingredient. Is that the same as phosphorus? So would Sluggo kill slugs and help with fertilization?

I’ve also heard slugs don’t like copper, should I put copper wire around my trees?

Any other tips or advice is appreciated.

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you can put a pan that is set into the ground so the lip is at grade height and fill with beer. (painful I know) They will slither into the beer and drown. You will need to empty them out everyday…



I try to avoid toxic chemicals if at all possible but I have 3 cats to think of.

Toads, chickens, Nematodes, Beer traps and wool pellets all work

I know people who have succeeded with copper tape. I have a couple of rolls that I haven’t got round to trying yet.

Going out after dark with a torch and physically removing them has always proven to be best success.


I have always found that the best slug bait is a dead slug.

Slice one open and leave it.
Come back later and eliminate the slugs that come to clean up the first one.


Seconding the comments on Sluggo - I hear it is really bad for other critters.

I got my slug population under control with a few nighttime sessions with a flashlight, manually catching a bunch of them, and then a little tray of beer overnight.

Wish I could have the same easy success with whiteflies, aphids, mealybugs, spidermites and the moths! The moths! They wreck my new growth on just about everything except olives and juniper. BT is supposed to kill them but only after they’ve hatched, too late to fix the messed up leaves. The battle continues.

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People at my work have been raving about using diatomaceous earth to control slugs. Apparently they don’t like crawling over the dry powder, so people put a ring around their plants in the garden.


I get loads of slugs and snails in my garden. Annoying things. They decimate my mini hostas.

I use 1" copper tape around my pots. I think it helps to a point. But after a while when patina builds upon the copper I think it becomes less effective. I’ve watched slugs go over it without hesitation.

I have heard the beer trap technique is not necessarily helpful. It can seem effective because seems to catch a lot, but in reality, it catches many because it attracts them from a wider area and brings more slugs from a further distance to your trees who may not otherwise discover them. :man_shrugging:t2:

Powdered diatomaceous earth worked for me on aphids and the ants that were farming them last year. Cheap, effective and non-toxic