Garden Science

The science behind slug beer bins


When I say to people that they should use beer to trap slugs and help deter them from eating your plants – I often face a puzzled expression – when you think about it, it does sounds odd when you say it, “use beer to help deter the slugs from eating your produce..”

Making a beer trap is easy and you can read up on that here.

To understand why slugs enjoy beer, is to know hat role they play in the ecosystem. Love them or hate them – slugs are vital because they eat decaying plant material and fungi. Most carnivorous slugs on occasion also eat the dead of their own kind. (Annoyingly, they’re not fussy eaters and tend to eat live plants as well).

The yeast in beer has not only fermented, but continues to ferment. Fermentation is the breakdown of a substance by bacteria or enzymes. Slugs are attracted to the beer because of the breakdown of the yeast and the glorious aroma broken down yeast brings.

This is why slugs are like a moth to the flame when it comes to ale – much like some humans. The video shows just how powerful the scent of beer can be in deterring slugs away from your plants.

You can make an alternative slug bin by mixing a teaspoon of yeast, water, sugar (this helps with the fermentation process) and self-raising flour – this is beneficial as you can ramp up the yeast content and thus increase the scent that’s given off.


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