I have no qualms about dispatching the buggers. One of the most effective ways of killing slugs is to use ... beer. Fill a shallow container with beer and sink it into the soil so that the top of the container sits slightly above the soil line. Highly attracted to the beer, the slugs crawl in, get drunk, can't climb out, and drown. Pictured above is just part of one night's haul. Although not very attractive, I have beer-filled cat food cans dotting my garden beds. On average there are 3 cat food cans per flower bed. I have a cat, so I have plenty of cat food cans. Really, any small can or container will do. And the beer? I get the cheapest beer I can find.
Weather plays a big role in the proliferation of slugs. Cool, damp conditions are a slug's paradise. In the heat of summer, gardeners usually welcome the rain. A good rain sure beats having to lug around a garden hose or watering can to water thirsty gardens. Yet, it can have its downside. A string of rainy summer days is pure ecstasy for slugs. Slugs are primarily night feeding creatures, but I have seen them crawling across the rain soaked soil in the middle of the day to zero in on a zinnia.
I have only 3 zinnias left. I was a bit too late in getting the beer bait out. Better late than never, and the beer did stop the rampage. As an extra deterrent, I sprinkled some crushed eggshells around the base of the remaining seedlings. Slugs supposedly don't like crawling across sharp edges of the eggshells. For me, they do seem to help tremendously.
Coffee grounds scattered at the base of plants is also known to be a deterrent
as well as a few pieces of copper wire twisted together and used as a barrier band around the base of a plant. If you're not squeamish ...
use your fingers to pluck the slimy buggers off your plants and dispose of them in a container of soapy water. Or get ...
some ducks! They think slugs are just yummy!