Greengates Builders Merchants

Why gardeners must slug it out with armies of pests this year

GARDENERS must do battle with bumper numbers of their slimiest enemy, experts have warned.

Last year’s heavy rain – which gave England’s its wettest year on record – created perfect conditions for slugs, said the Royal Horticultural Society.

And though the cold winter has slowed their mass slither towards prize plants, they are now emerging in huge numbers.

The RHS also warned of other more unusual pests, including hungry deer and badgers, treating gardens like larders.

Guy Barter, the chief horticultural adviser at the RHS, said: “Last year slugs had a field day.

“They wander around on a trail of slime and can’t stand dryness. It set in to rain last April and carried on raining throughout the breeding time for slugs.”

After a bumper breeding season, the molluscs had a “thin time” of it over the winter when there was little to eat, said Mr Barter.

But he added: “There were so many slugs, an unusually large number are bound to have survived.”

If the next few weeks are warm with plenty of April showers, slug numbers will continue to soar.

RHS tips to beat the pests include using nematodes – microscopic flesh-eating worms against them.

“At least they are not as bad as the snails in Florida that we told you about yesterday” says Greengates Builders Merchants Accrington, Lancashire.

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