Will Neem Oil Kill Slugs?

I ran into a difficulty with a few of my raised vegetable beds two years ago. One morning when I woke up, I saw that my month-old pepper plants were looking quite ragged.

Since I didn’t spot any insects that ate plants, I assumed that as the issue grew over the following few days that I was dealing with some sort of snail or slug since they eat plants at night but hide during the day.

That year was the first time I had used neem oil in my garden, and I was tempted to spray all of my pepper plants extensively in the hope that it might act as a deterrent, but I honestly didn’t know if it would work. Neem oil could kill or repel snails and slugs.

Snails and slugs cannot be repelled or eliminated with neem oil. Neem oil normally won’t kill either snails or slugs, according to studies, even though it has brief deterrent effects since it decomposes so quickly.

Three significant themes are covered in the article that follows:

  • How Does Neem Oil Work and What Is It?
  • Can you keep snails and slugs away with neem oil? What Science Has to Say
  • In My Garden, How Do I Get Rid of Snails and Slugs?

In general, I dislike it when bloggers make generalizations like “Neem oil doesn’t work on snails and slugs” if they aren’t supported by any sort of scientific proof.

I’ll explain: All slugs and snails are gastropod mollusks. They all belong to the phylum Mollusca, which includes octopi, squid, clams, and many other species, which implies they are all taxonomically exempt from having an internal skeleton. They belong to the group of animals known as gastropods, which includes more than 60,000 different species of snails and slugs.

Given the great diversity of gastropods, we should be cautious when making generalizations about a sophisticated natural pesticide like neem oil.

But before we look at the best ways to keep snails and slugs away from your plants, let’s look at what science has to say about the potential effects of neem oil on many different gastropod species. I believe there is enough scientific information to make some generalizations about this.

Neem oil might keep slugs and snails away.

The following items must be purchased, however they all typically offer other advantages as well:

  • Successful Microorganisms (EM). In one garden I used to take care of, I sprayed some efficient bacteria, and it stopped the slugs from eating. I don’t think this will always work, though. They continued to eat plants in the garden corner where I neglected to spray. It was pretty cool, but I’m not sure if the EM simply made the plants healthier to the point where slugs didn’t find them attractive. I still spotted the slugs about, but they weren’t eating as much.
  • Nematodes. Nematode soil spraying is a common practice for grub management. It turns out that Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita, a different kind of nematode, is capable of controlling slugs. As of this writing, I have not seen them for sale in North America, but perhaps we will in the future.
  • Yucca. I once purchased some yucca extract with the intention of selling it as a component of compost tea and as a spreader/sticker for foliar fertilization. In fact, slugs and snails won’t consume it if you combine it 50:50 with water. They’re still there, but they don’t wreck nearly as much damage as the EM did.
  • Nimbu oil Neem oil has been used to repel slugs and snails off plants, although it doesn’t seem to be the most efficient method. While pear slugs are not actual slugs, I’ve seen it work on other slug-like insects.

Slugs—will neem oil kill them?

I’ll address some of the most typical queries about slug eradication in this section. After reading this article and the FAQs, if you still have a question, post it in the comments section below. I’ll respond right away.

What attracts slugs to my garden?

Slugs prefer areas that are chilly, moist, and shaded, as I’ve indicated several times before. As a result, if the environment is favorable and there is food available, they will be drawn to your garden.

What eats slugs?

Slugs are fortunate to have a large number of natural predators, which is why using organic slug management techniques is crucial.

Frogs, toads, birds, chickens, snakes, turtles, ground beetles, and firefly larvae are a few of the most vicious slug eaters.

Does neem oil work on slugs?

Yes, I do protect my vulnerable seedlings with neem oil for slugs in the early spring so they don’t die before they can develop.

Neem oil is not the most effective way to get rid of slugs, though. It kills a wide variety of bugs while being a naturally produced pesticide. In the garden, it is therefore better to use it sparingly.

Does cornmeal kill slugs?

That is questionable. People have praised the effectiveness of utilizing cornmeal to naturally get rid of slugs. I put it to the test, and it turns out that slugs adore eating cornmeal.

But after a few days, I noticed no decrease in the number of slugs, and I thought I was merely feeding the slugs. So I stopped using that approach.

Do slugs drown in water?

Yes. Being unable of swimming, slugs will perish in water or a beer trap. I always add liquid soap to the water to hasten the process because I don’t know how long it will take for them to drown in the water.

Slug removal may seem like an insurmountable undertaking, but it is achievable. To locate the best slug control products or techniques that work for you, some trial and error may be necessary. But if you stick with it, your slug problem will soon go.

What kills slugs most effectively in nature?

There are a few other methods you can attempt in addition to these “power 8 techniques to get rid of slugs in the garden naturally,” however their efficacy is debated.

  • The benefits of diatomaceous earth as a slug control have long been praised. The edges of the microscopic sharp powder easily pierce the skin of slugs, desiccating them as they crawl over it. The problem is that diatomaceous earth is ineffective as soon as it becomes wet. There aren’t many gardeners that I know that have the time to create a circle of dust around each plant and then replenish it after each rain or heavy dew.
  • Direct application of salt to a slug’s body may cause enough desiccation to cause it to die, but there’s a considerable possibility the slug will simply shed its slime covering and continue as normal instead. I’ve witnessed it take place so frequently that I long ago put my salt shaker away.
  • Finally, objects with sharp edges have been recommended as effective slug deterrents. Examples include broken eggshells, dried coffee grounds, and sweet gum seed pods. I sincerely disagree, and numerous research support this.

In a series of lessons that last a combined 2 hours and 30 minutes, our online course Organic Pest Control for the Vegetable Garden expands on how to naturally manage slugs and other pests.

How can slugs be exterminated for good?

Slugs are typically removed with beer traps. These traps can be purchased or made on your own. Bury a lidded, deep container—such as a cottage cheese or coffee can—so that it is level with the earth around it. Make a hole the size of a slug in the lid, pour in an inch or so of beer, and then snap the lid shut. Slugs crawl into the trap after detecting the yeasty odor. Slugs are drawn to these traps within a few feet of their placement. Beer is not required; a mixture of sugar, water, and yeast also works. Regularly empty traps, and change the solution every few days. The traps don’t necessarily need to be buried, according to some gardeners. Find out what works best on your garden by experimenting.

In what location do slugs spend the day?

Eliminating their hiding spots is the first step in preventing slugs and snails. Store firewood off the ground and move firewood heaps away from the home. Place flower pots and planters on stands or racks. Eliminate stones and lumber that could serve as wet hiding places.

Ensure that exterior doors close securely. Replace any door sweeps or weather stripping that is missing. In a moist basement, a dehumidifier can be required. In general, any action taken to lessen moisture will aid in managing these pests.

To keep slugs and snails out, secure the crawl space doors. Make sure the vents in the crawl space are open to promote airflow and lessen moisture.

An examination comes next in the process. The slug or snail hiding spots may be found along the slime trails. It might be essential to venture outside at night to determine their point of origin. Some people favor using tongs in place of their hands while picking things up.

Snails and slugs can hide in moist plant waste, beneath rocks, low weeds, mulch, and fallen logs. Snails and slugs are negatively impacted by dry weather and the loss of bodily hydration, thus moisture is a crucial requirement for them. If a food source is close by, moist areas are particularly desirable. Snails and slugs both consume plants’ leaves, flowers, and fruits, especially those that are close to the ground.

Snails and slugs are an annoyance when they enter buildings, despite the fact that they do not physically harm people. They can seriously harm plants in flowerbeds and gardens outside. These bugs may eat entire seedlings in addition to making huge holes in leaves. Slugs and snails are destructive to flowerbeds and gardens, and they particularly like eating lettuce, strawberries, and violets.

Slugs and snails are frequently hidden from view by homeowners, who instead discover their slimy paths. These traces are still visible a few days later. Another sign of their presence is the damage to plants they cause while feeding.


Soft-bodied animals include slugs. The size of adults varies by species and ranges from 25 to 100 mm.

Animals with squishy bodies include snails. Snails can hide inside their shells, which they have. They can seal the shell and endure extreme circumstances for a long time inside.

Where do they hide?

Snails and slugs spend the day hiding in moist areas. They remain hidden beneath rocks, logs, or other vegetation. They also hide beneath low decks and planters. They venture outside to eat at night. They leave a slimy trail wherever they go.


Snails and slugs both devour plant leaves. Snails require calcium in their diet because of their shells. They occasionally eat painted surfaces if limestone is scarce.


Snails and slugs both lay their eggs in the spring and summer. The eggs are placed in wet, secure areas. Snails use earth to conceal their eggs. The eggs will eventually hatch. It takes the young animals a few months to mature into adults. Snails and slugs both have a long lifespan.

How can I keep slugs from consuming my plants?

Many gardeners’ life are made miserable by slugs and snails. They devour vegetal stuff without mercy or discrimination. If given even the slightest chance, they can devour a perfectly healthy plant in a matter of days.

When you first realize how vicious these blubbery little creatures are, it might be discouraging for a beginning gardener. It can also be simple to feel like you’ve failed at gardening if you lose a few leaves to some greedy new neighbors.

But do not lose hope! Slugs won’t bother everyone, but if you do find yourself the victim of their wandering nibbling, there are several things we may do to keep them away. The good news is that they are less likely to locate your plants if you have a balcony, an enclosed garden, or a high-up terrace, and they are simpler to fend off if you do. However, if you ever have to fight them, use some of these tried-and-true methods:

1) Mulch, gravel, or woodchips that have been crushed Because molluscs dislike walking on uneven terrain, you can use this texture to discourage them if they notice any sharp edges.

2) Ground coffee. The bitter flavor of coffee grinds repels slugs. To keep them away, scatter coffee grounds on the soil surrounding your plants. (However, if you have any roving four-legged family members, this might not work because coffee grounds are bad for pets.)

2) Copper tape or copper pots Slugs are effectively repelled by doing this. Although it won’t result in their disappearance from your yard, if you can sufficiently wrap copper tape over the base of your pots, it will result in fewer or no slugs making the difficult climb up the side of the container to their smorgasbord above. Slugs dislike copper because when they slime their way onto it, it electrocutes them somewhat. What do they then do? They circle back and remove the slime. Issue is resolved.

5) Create an eel lure Slugs will be attracted to the environment if a buffet bar is set up there. A Tupperware containing beer or vegetables could serve as the lure. They will be less likely to concentrate on your plants if you can entice them to this location, and it will also be quite simple to pick them up and get rid of them. (You might want to do this while wearing your rubber gloves.)

6) Pellets of slugs. These are the big weapons, and even though we would prefer not to use them, they do function in a pinch. Choose a brand of slug pellets that is safe for people, pets, and other wildlife if you intend to use them. (If it is non-toxic to pets, wildlife, and humans, it will say so on the tin, and we wouldn’t recommend buying them if it isn’t.)

You can thus attempt a variety of strategies. But keep in mind these crucial details as well:

You can move them by picking them up. This is a very quick and effective way to get rid of them! Pick them up and transfer them out of your garden whenever you see them. They’re slimy little critters, so it’s not the most pleasant job. It won’t stop them from returning or from getting new ones, but it will immediately end any sluggish party.

Be very cautious following rainy weather. You’re more likely to observe slugs and snails after it has been raining or even during a deluge like the one we got today because they prefer damp environments. So

Learn about your garden. There will be areas of your balcony or garden that have a higher propensity to serve as a home for slugs and snails. Some gardens have more slugs and snails than others. Pay attention to these regions and concentrate your efforts there when it comes time to remove molluscs after rainy weather.

NEVER sprinkle salt on them. Salt basically kills them in a painful way by causing them to erupt. We do not advocate salt at all because it is not only an inhumane and painful method of animal euthanasia but also very harmful to plants.

Slugs can be persistent, but beware. You need to be just as strong to defeat them.