Garden Myths Gardening Mollusks

Can Coca-Cola Kill Slugs?

In the desperate need to prove Coca-Cola has some real use in the garden, some people suggest that you can leave a bowl of the beverage out overnight so it will attract slugs. According to this belief, they are attracted to the sugary smell of the drink, then the acid will kill them when the drink it. Or they simply fall in trying to reach the delicious nectar. 

However, try it yourself and see: you’ll discover no slug ever gets poisoned nor falls into the bowl to drown. Apparently, slugs don’t like Coca-Cola, possibly because it’s so very acid (the pH of freshly opened Coca Cola is about 2.5: extremely acid). 

Beer does a better job of trapping slugs (see Attracting Slugs With Beer: Myth or Reality?), but even beer is a very poor slug control method. In fact, it tends to increase the local slug population.

So, the best way to use Coca-Cola as a slug deterrent is to drink it to give yourself extra energy before you go out slug hunting.

Garden writer and blogger, author of 65 gardening books, lecturer and communicator, the Laidback Gardener, Larry Hodgson, passed away in October 2022. Known for his great generosity, his thoroughness and his sense of humor, he reached several generations of amateur and professional gardeners over his 40-year career. Thanks to his son, Mathieu Hodgson, and a team of contributors, will continue its mission of demystifying gardening and making it more accessible to all.

4 comments on “Can Coca-Cola Kill Slugs?

  1. I’ve begun utilizing pellets made from organic slugs. The words “autorisied in organic gardeining” are printed on the box, which is why I dislike using them. Since I let the hens go last winter and I believe they ate all the slug and snail eggs (I turned over all the paving and wood bits for them), I don’t have as many problems. But even after spending so much time to get to the planting out stage, losing young seedlings still makes me very sad.

  2. Yes, that one sounds pretty far fetched. I remember that beer seemed to attract them in the Santa Clara Valley, but not kill them, which is fine for those who go out in the morning to collect them and . . . . ‘relocate’ them. Those who do that here find a party of harmless banana slugs, which no one bothers to . . . ‘relocate’.

  3. I have started using organic slug pellets. I dont like using them, but they say “autorisied in organic gardeining” on the box. I dont have a huge problem any more since I let the hens loose last wiinter and i think they ate all the slug and snail eggs (i turned over all the pavings and bits of wood for them). But it is still so sad to lose baby seedlings I’ve spent so much time on getting to the planting out stage.

    • Yes, hens will clean up slug eggs and even slugs themselves, although you wouldn’t want them loose in the garden in early summer, as they make a mess of seedlings too.

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