This blog we promise to leave no stone unturned as we go on the warpath for every gardener’s nemesis – slugs and snails!
There are no less than 36 species of slug in the UK. That’s according to ‘Slugs of Britain and Ireland’, a book by the Field Studies Council whose title must surely be a contender for the coveted annual award for the oddest and most obscure book title, which this year includes entries such as ‘Paper Folding with Children’ and ‘Soviet Bus Stops’. We kid you not!
Anyway, back to slugs… Thanks to an unusually wet and mild winter across much of the UK it is widely anticipated that slugs numbers will pose a real problem for gardeners this year. Slugs remain active throughout the year, but with the onset of warmer weather and proliferation of new planting their presence becomes more noticeable. Like most forms of pest control every seasoned gardener has a favoured solution, and at Mallett’s we stock a range of deterrents including self adhesive copper tape for putting around pots and patio containers that gives slugs an unpleasant electric shock sensation if they try and cross it.
We also have slug traps – plastic containers that are set into the ground and filled with beer. Slugs (and snails) are attracted to the beer, fall in and come to an untimely – though presumably happy end.
However, many of us simply wage war on these slimy pests by reaching for the slug pellets and scattering them all around our vulnerable plants and seedlings. That’s why at Mallett’s we are happy to recommend a variety of non-toxic Slug Killers, whose non-hazardous ferric (iron) phosphate bait granules are safe for wildlife, domestic pets and children. Iron and phosphate both occur naturally in soil and are essential to plant nutrition. But when ingested by slugs and snails they stop eating and eventually die, but not before they crawl into the ground or a secluded location, meaning there are no unsightly corpses to clear away.
These bait granules are not adding anything to the soil that isn’t already present, and the low toxicity of iron and phosphate will not contaminate groundwater, thus making it safe for fish, aquatic insects and algae. Airborne insects such as bees are similarly unaffected since the granules are applied directly to the soil. For organic gardeners these non-toxic options are an ideal means of pest control without compromising the integrity of fruit and vegetable crops or using biological controls such as nematodes, whose effectiveness can be temperature and weather dependent.
Copper barrier tape and slug traps are just part of a huge range of gardening products available at Mallett’s. So come and pay us a visit, chat to one of our friendly green-fingered staff and get your garden pest-free and ready for summer. Then kick back and relax with your very own copy of ‘Soviet Bus Stops’!