Lately our garden has had way too many slugs and snails in it. It finally got to the point where we decided we had to take action. My husband wanted to get a spray from the store, but I wasn’t keen on that idea. First of all, I wanted something humane that wouldn’t kill the slugs and snails. Secondly, I didn’t want to harm the plants in the garden with toxic chemicals.
So I started looking for other ideas. In the past, we’ve posted on how you can attract hedgehogs, which in turn can help control the slug and snail population, but that isn’t really a fast and convenient solution (plus, around here I’m not sure we even have hedgehogs). But even searching through all the gardening tips I’ve accumulated over the years (see 100 of them here), I still didn’t find what I was looking for.
But then I checked on Reddit, and I found this cool idea to build a slug electric fence.
Yes, I know—the first time I read the words “slug electric fence,” I cringed too. I was worried that would fry the slugs. But it turns out that anything above 9v is lethal to slugs—but if you go with 9 volts or less, you can buzz them without killing them.
1. You need to get 1.6 mm galvanized coated garden wire for this project.
2. Loop it around the garden bed you are trying to protect from slugs and snails.
Staple it in place.
3. Do this again with a second cable. The cables should not touch.
4. Drill a couple of holes in a watertight container.
5. Run the wires through the holes and into the container. Place a 9 volt (or less) battery inside and tape the wires to the ends. Solder a connector to the ends if you want.
6. Tape the battery to the inside of the lid if you are paranoid about rain.
You can see the fence at work here:
As you can see, the snail jerks away when it makes contact with the wire, and then diverts its path.
Snails and slugs probably don’t like this experience, but it’s certainly kinder than killing them all with some kind of toxic spray or crushing them underfoot. It is better for your plants too. It’s a very clever idea, and as you can see, surprisingly easy to build with a few basic supplies!