Reuse Plastic to Make Slug Traps
It is about that time of year when the slugs start to come out in the Pacific Northwest. They definitely damage my vegetables. It is so sad to come out to my newly transplanted seedlings and find so much of them gone and no way to recover them. We get a little rain (annual average of 34 inches (86cm)) in Seattle and a lot of slug traps just fill up with water. A little rain in Seattle? All of the slug traps I found before didn’t work well for the rain, so I came up with my own slug trap. I can keep the trap out for many days and come back to it and toss the dead slugs. This trap is really easy and fast to make too!
The first thing I do is finish eating my cottage cheese or yogurt from a large carton. One of those individual serving sizes may not work that well for this project. Any of the sizes that contain multiple servings will work much better.
I collect an Exacto knife, a ruler, and I make sure to keep the lid to the container.
After cleaning and drying the carton, I begin by cutting a hole about 2 inches wide and tall about ¾” from the bottom of the cottage cheese container. It can be ½” to 1” from the bottom. I have a hard time making straight cuts and have discovered both sizes work. I recommend trying to make the bottom line as straight as you possible can to hold in the liquid bait properly.
It is hard to cut the plastic straight. I tried to make the cut at the bottom as straight as possible, but I didn’t worry too much about the other lines.
I then cut a similar hole on the opposite side of the container.
And done! That is it, easy!
I place multiple traps out near my garden beds. I prefer to not put plastic in my garden beds. I may be a little paranoid, but I never know what may leach into the soil from the plastic, so I avoid plastic when I can.
I place 3 rocks inside the container to keep it from blowing away.
I make sure to add the rocks before adding the liquid so that it doesn’t spill out. My liquid of choice is cheap beer just because I know it works. I fill the liquid to the bottom of the hole I cut. I found that the slugs still get trapped if there is less liquid than that.
I place the lid back on the container and now the rain doesn’t come in and dilute the bait.
I save my slug traps after the season for the next slug season. Last winter I left them out a little too long and they froze over, but they still work fine.
Some people claim the beer only works for 2 days, but I leave my slug traps out for 5 days and then clean them out and add new beer. From experience (also known as laziness), I know that the beer continues to attract them for that long. I haven’t experimented with longer than that.
I also rotate in new rocks that I use inside of the trap when I clean out the trap. They can get a little moldy. If I just rotate between 3 other rocks, the mold clears off of the old ones by the time I come back to clean the trap out again.
Some people dig a little hole to place their slug traps in so that the top of the liquid is level with the ground. The problem with this is the beneficial insects like the black beetle often fall into the trap. The black beetle eats slug eggs and I definitely want to keep those beetles around.
Is it the prettiest slug trap? No, definitely not. I feel better being able to reuse materials than buying something pretty. This is quite a frugal solution also. I can understand if a person prefers beauty though, I am not judging.
I am curious what other people use to trap slugs. Please share in the comments, maybe there will be an improvement I can make.
- $0 – Reuse cottage cheese, yogurt, or similar plastic container (must be larger than individual size)
- $0 – Exacto knife (I am guessing you already have one at home.)
- $0 – Ruler (another household item)
- ? – Your bait of choice
- 5 minutes
Total cost: $0 for the slug trap, there may be an expense for the bait
Total time: 5 minutes
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