Colleen Vanderlinden


The slugs in my yard are grotesquely large. I'm guessing that this is due to all of the hosta foliage they eat. For the record, they have expensive taste, gravitating toward the lovely bluish green one that I paid a pretty penny for, and ignoring the ones that I bought on clearance for a buck-fifty.

While I'm not crazy about them munching the hostas, I absolutely will not tolerate them devouring my salad greens. My garden is, of course, an organic garden, so I have found a few creative ways to take care of the problem. I've sprayed my plants with garlic spray—giving my greens a garlicky zing before I even dress them! I've sprinkled ediatomaceous earth around my plants, but it has been a rainy year and I'm tired of reapplying it. I would try beer traps, except that we are not beer drinkers and I refuse to buy beer for my slugs. Let them go elsewhere if they want to drink.

My favorite method for dealing with those slimy little buggers is to trap them. And my weapon of choice? A rind from one half of a grapefruit. This works so well, and when you've caught your share of slugs, you can compost the grapefruit rind and be done with it.

How to Trap Slugs with Fruit Rinds

1. Cut a grapefruit in half and scoop out the flesh, leaving the empty rind. You can eat the grapefruit of course.

2. Place the rind, upside-down (skin up, pith down), in your garden wherever you've noticed slug damage. A few of these simple traps scattered throughout your vegetable garden or perennial beds will go a long way toward taking care of your slug problem.

3. Let the rind sit overnight.

The following morning, lift the rind up. Slugs will have congregated on the underside of the rind. Dispose of them as you see fit (we feed them to our pet turtles and toads, but you can feed them to your backyard chickens or toss them into a bucket of soapy water then dispose of them.)

Replace the rind and repeat until you stop catching slugs or you stop seeing damage.

Compost the rind.

How Grapefruit Slug Traps Work

So, why does this method work? Slugs are attracted to any dark, moist area they can hide under. They'll find your rinds when they're out on their nightly snack runs and crawl inside, resting there during the sunny daylight hours until their next moonlight adventure. Generally, they end up hiding under mulch, or thick foliage, or any wooden timbers you may be using as edging in your garden. You're just using their vampire-like aversion to sunlight to your advantage.

You can use a variety of fruit rinds for this, including orange, lemon, and lime rinds, cantaloupe or honeydew melons that you've halved and scooped the fruit from, or winter squash rinds you've halved and hollowed out.

Don't spend any extra money next time you have to deal with a slug problem. Check your produce drawer or root cellar instead!

Read more on green gardening in our Organic Gardening feature