A Slug Bait Better Than Beer?


I have read on websites about another alternative to putting beer in my slug traps. Since the slugs are attracted to the yeast in the beer, a yeast solution alternative seemed like a great idea.This way I can use a household ingredient that I always have, because we make our own bread regularly. Additionally, I read it was a cheaper alternative. We don’t really drink much beer, but I have read some people just really hate to waste beer, which may be a factor for others. I decided to test out all of these claims and I was surprised that it doesn’t always end up being the best solution.

I decided to try out both beer and a yeast solution at the same time. I wanted to test to see if the yeast solution is as effective as beer and if it is more frugal. There are probably 100 different recipes online for making a yeast solution slug bait and I decided to make up my own. I think the important part is that it contains yeast.

My yeast solution ingredients: sugar, yeast, and water.

Yeast Slug Bait

  • ⅓ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon sugar (5 g) (.28 oz.)
  • ½ teaspoon active dry yeast (8 g) (.17 oz.)

I mixed it all together and it made enough for one of my slug traps.

For comparison, I used 1/3 of cup of beer.

Below are my results for 5 days of testing.

Day 1: Yeast solution on the left, beer solution on the right. This is right after I set it out, it is a little dirty because I don’t clean the slug traps out very thoroughly between baiting.

Day 2: Yeast solution on the left, beer solution on the right.  It is a little hard to see, but there are a similar number of slugs.

Day 3: Yeast solution on the left, beer solution on the right. There was some good slug catching. The beer solution may have a couple more slugs, but nothing to point to one bait being definitively better than the other. With the beer solution there are definitely more slugs on the wall of the container.

Day 4: Yeast solution on the left, beer solution on the right. After seeing all of the slugs on the wall of the beer bait, I pushed them all into the liquid. It is hard to tell, but the yeast solution has slugs mixed in with the rocks.

Day 5: Yeast solution on the left, beer solution on the right. Unfortunately, it was quite sunny the last day, which made the pictures not turn out very well. There wasn’t much of a change from the day before. I think the liquid needs to be replaced.

The two solutions seem to have similar results. The yeast solution had a few less slugs than the beer solution. It is impossible to know exactly without more control, but the solutions were enough for me to think the yeast solution works fine.

Even though people claim it is a cheaper solution, I just wanted to be sure so I calculated the cost. I used the prices from a local grocery store. I actually purchase yeast and sugar from a warehouse store for a cheaper price, but I am guessing others probably don’t.

Ingredients and grocery store prices:

Yeast Solution

Beer Bait

Active Dry Yeast, 4 oz. – $7.49Beer – 25 fluid oz. – $1.50
Cane Sugar, 10 lb. – $5.00 

Break down cost per slug trap:

Yeast Solution

Beer Bait

 Yeast = $0.31Beer = $0.15
 Sugar = $0.01 
Total per slug trap



I was really surprised the yeast solution was more expensive than the beer solution. I could try to dilute the solution and cut the yeast in ½ and the price would be similar to beer, but it may not catch quite as many slugs. Since it already seemed to catch a few less slugs, I am not going to dilute the solution. I decided to price the warehouse yeast to see how it compared. The warehouse price is much cheaper, with Active Dry Yeast a 2 lb. bag for $4.49.

The price of the yeast solution goes down to $0.04 if I use the price of my warehouse yeast. What a big difference!  Over time I am sure this price will make a difference. I guess the lesson here is to do the calculations if the price is different.

Before I calculated the cost, I used the yeast solution for a few weeks to see if my results were similar. It seems like there were either less slugs out, or it didn’t seem to work as well as the beer normally does. I still caught slugs though. I am still deciding if I am going to use the yeast solution or stick with beer. It may take me a season of testing them both to decide.

Until I switch to using an entirely different slug catching solution, I am happy that I have a cheaper bait alternative for my slug traps. Do you use something else to trap your slugs?

[Image Credit: ©Garden4Dinner]