Slugs Have Infested My Garden

Slug damage of Hydrangea macrophylla leafMy lupins are bereft of their pink petals and some beast has left silver trails over my foxgloves. The culprit was, by chance, found lurking in the drains. An exploratory mission to establish the source of blockage to the kitchen sink uncovered a horror scene like something from a Sci-Fi movie.

Slug eggs

The mother of all slugs which you can see on the image below was sliding along the rancid side of the wall. A heap of eggs lay on top of the ancient pipe and more eggs were tucked among the damp brickwork. Bodies of dead slugs floated in the disagreeable water. Lots of insects thrive in damp conditions and I’ve spotted most of the creatures from this vile breeding environment  in my home, though thankfully not slugs. Woodlice and springtail occasionally creep along the skirting but they cause no harm to humans or their homes.

There are 24 different types of slugs in the UK and I think half of them were having a whale of a time in my drain. Snapping on rubber gloves I scooped out the standing water, grimacing as my fingers felt bloated bodies. The drain was then doused with chemicals and boiling water to get rid of the stench and curb the slug population.

Drain full of slugs and eggsOne of the reason’s slugs breed profusely is because all slugs are hermaphrodite; they have both male and female sex organs and all slugs can lay eggs. In order that they don’t dry out, slugs eggs must be laid in damp places such as beneath stones or even in the soil. Slugs need to keep moist at all times otherwise they will dehydrate and die; hence they are at their most active at night, but because of the ample rain we have experienced of late this has encouraged slugs to nibble at our gardens round the clock.

Breaking a slug breeding cycle is one way of pest control but if your garden is overcome by slugs here are some more tips.

Get Rid Of Slugs

  • Slugs feast off rotten vegetation, though will just as eagerly scoff tender young shoots too – quickly remove fallen leaves from your garden.
  • Rake your soil regularly to displace eggs. Slugs find it hard to move through fine soil – prod with a fork to get rid of any slug highways which may be lurking at root level.
  • Encourage hedgehogs to live in your garden – they love slugs for supper. Slow worms, ground beetles, frogs and centipedes will also devour slugs and their eggs. The Harvestman spider will eat small slugs.
  • Barricade your precious plants from slugs by adding Vermiculite,  a compost addition, around your plants or use sharp, crushed gravel. Slugs find it difficult to crawl over anything dry so bark will only be an effective deterrent in sunny weather.
  • Grab a torch and go slug hunting at night – you might be horrified at the amount of slugs which creep out at night. Pick them off one by one and take them somewhere far, far away, or put them on the bird table for a feathery protein snack.
  • Try the tried and trusted beer trap method. Put a jar on its side and put a small amount of your least favourite tipple in it. When the slugs venture inside they will drown a happy death.

If you have a tried and tested anti-slug tactic, please let us know!

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