Organic Pest Control

Here, snail, snail.  Come have some Sierra Nevada!

Here, snail, snail. Come have some Sierra Nevada!

These are some of the unwelcome, and occasionally voracious, visitors to the OC Metro Farm and ways we have found for dealing with them.


Our most persistent pests, and among the most destructive, have been snails and slugs.  They threaten seedlings and mature plants alike, and in one evening unchecked can do significant damage with their unwelcome munching.

We have found the following strategies to be the most effective in dissuading these slimeballs from unauthorized snacking.

  • Slughunt! – The slugs and snails are by far most active at night.  Hunt them with a flashlight, a pair of latex gloves (they are severely slimy), a plastic bag, and righteous vengeance.
  • Beer traps – Slugs love beer!  Who can blame them, really.  Set a small shallow plastic tub into the soil such that the rim is even with the soil surface and fill it with an inexpensive brew of choice.  Every day or two, dump the slugified beer and replace it with fresh beer.  Have chickens?  Beer marinated slugs make a tasty treat!
  • DE – Food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE for short) comes from geological deposits of diatoms (an algae) which have become fossilized.  This is the “nuclear option”, as DE will harm beneficial garden dwellers as well as the malicious ones, but can be the option to turn to when more modest measures aren’t cutting the mustard.  Beware … non-food-grade DE is sold for use in swimming pools and for pest control (with strict warnings against human, pet, and food contact), so be certain to use only DE that is specifically labeled and sold as food-grade.