Slugs must be at the top of the list of garden pests, they happily munch their way through our treasured crops often eating as much as we do, annoyingly leaving behind their calling card – a tell tale silver trail.
Last year we had a very wet April and May (which is when slugs breed) this resulted in a large increase in their population and although we had a cold spring this year many will have survived due to their large numbers, if they all breed successfully there could be a slug explosion in June and July.
There are many environmentally friendly ways to control slugs in the garden:
1 Place a slug deterrent such as Slug Gone around your plants, composed of sheep’s wool, sand, grit and potassium salts it acts as a barrier which irritates the slugs foot and absorbs its slime. Slug Gone wool pellets can be used anywhere in the garden, they are natural, organic and safe to children, pets and wildlife, the pellets hold twice their own weight in water and will act as an excellent mulch, weed suppressant, soil conditioner and slow release fertiliser too.
3 Apply Nemaslug, which is a biological control, every 6 weeks to the soil by simply watering it in, it contains millions of microscopic slug hunting worms called nematodes which invade and kill the slugs.
4 Build a pond in your garden; it will soon become a home to frogs, toads and newts whose favourite food are slugs, as well as benefiting and encouraging masses of wildlife.
5 Create permanent log piles in your garden to encourage Ground Beetles they can eat a surprising number of slugs for their size, the logs provide a summer nesting site and a perfect place to overwinter.
7 Encourage Hedgehogs to your garden by putting out hedgehog food (don’t overfeed them as they will stop foraging for the slugs), clean water and a place to nest or hibernate such as a Hogitat or a Hogilo they love a tasty snack of slugs.
8 Mulch the garden with bark chips, well rotted compost or manure all of which are inedible to slugs.
9 Patrol the garden when it has gone dark with a torch collecting them in a bag/bucket and disposing of them as you think fit!
I would not recommend using harmful slug pellets that contain metaldehyde, although they kill the slugs they will also kill their natural predators (insects, birds, mammals, amphibians) who unwittingly eat the slugs, as well as being harmful to pets, children and grown-ups.
Although slugs are often not wanted in our gardens they do have a place there and are a vital part of our wildlifes food chain, it is all about creating a natural and harmonious balance.
Love your environment.