Wage War on Slugs

19 March 2013 | Posted in Gardening by The Marshalls Family

Slugs It’s time to think about Waging War!

On Slugs and Snail that is! Unfortunately last year’s wet weather was paradise for slugs and the promiscuous little critters bred like there was no tomorrow! When you consider that in ideal conditions a single slug is capable of producing millions of eggs, you begin to understand the problem! The eggs look like clusters of tiny pearls and can be found under debris and stones near the soil surface. So we need to fight this battle with everything we can muster before these slimy molluscs can establish a stronghold in our gardens. They are active overnight and can destroy a row of young plants while you and I are tucked up in our beds!

Slugs do play an important role in ecology by eating decomposing vegetation, but will also be really grateful for a supply of lovely tender seedlings for them to snack on, so, since we’ll never win this war outright we can only try to keep the problem under control and create a balance. If like me, you have children, animals or chickens running around the garden you won’t want to be putting anything nasty down to eradicate them and I also shy away from going out in the dark, torch in hand to pick them up and dispose of them - which really means squishing them with your boot - yuk!

No, I can’t cope with that! I’ve found that the simplest way to deal with them is with a Biological Control. Nemaslug contains tiny microscopic, naturally occurring nematodes (Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita) and controls all common species of small to medium sized slugs (up to 8cm - 2½-3 inches) both above and below ground. It’s the best wildlife friendly slug killer you can find, it is harmless to the birds, hedgehogs, frogs and toads who love to feed on slugs and their eggs. We need to encourage these natural predators into our gardens as they have a significant impact on the slug population, my three chickens go mad for slugs too and I wouldn’t want anything in my garden that could do them harm.

You simply mix the nematodes with water in a bucket and water into the soil beneath your plants with a watering can. One application of Nemaslug provides 300,000 nematodes for every square metre of soil, giving at least six weeks control of slugs! This is generally enough time for seedlings and plants to get well established. It is easy to apply and does not leave any unsightly residues. The majority of the slugs will die underground, so don't expect to see too many bodies lying around! Apply Nemaslug to moist soil. The soil temperature should be 5ºC (40ºF) or over, this is also when plants naturally start growing. Nematodes are capable of surviving the odd frost, so don't worry if the temperature falls after you have applied it. The nematodes are completely harmless to birds, animals, children and other wildlife.

If you start your control regime early you will be able to target the young slugs growing under the ground feeding on humus before they make too much headway with your plants! So think about getting yours ordered so it is delivered as soon as weather conditions are suitable. There is a whole range of Biological Controls for most common garden pests including Nemasys for Vine Weevil control, Leatherjacket Killer and Grow Your Own which targets a broad range of destructive garden pests.

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