Which? Gardening issues tips to fight slugsSlug numbers set to rise if summer is wet

18 June 2008

Which? Gardening experts are issuing tips today to help gardeners combat the menace of slugs.

A survey of  Which? Gardening readers last summer found that over 70% had a serious slug problem.

If wet weather continues to mar this year's summer, the problem is set to be even worse.

Slug numbers

It's estimated there could be up to 200 slugs per cubic metre of soil. Each slug can eat double its weight in plants every day.

Although it's impossible to eliminate slugs altogether - most live below the soil - Which? Gardening has tips for deterring them from certain areas of the garden, so you can protect valuable plants. 

They include some unusual-sounding tactics, such as spraying the ground with WD40.

Tips

Which? Gardening editor Ceri Thomas has the following advice:

  • you can try a biological control such as Nemaslug or Defenders Slug Control, which work by releasing slugs' natural enemies into the soil and killing them underground
  • slugs and snails hate copper, so you can use copper tape or mats around pots and containers or use copper rings on the garden to protect plants from slimy pests
  • most slug pellets contain metaldehyde, which works by giving slugs and snails a deadly hangover if they ingest it. Sprinkle pellets around the plants that need most protection
  • liquid concentrates work in the same way as pellets, but are watered on to plants. These are more likely than pellets to kill underground slugs
  • WD40 is more commonly associated with squeaky hinges, but spraying a continuous band around pot plants seems to work well

Ceri Thomas says: 'With the conditions currently perfect for slugs, gardeners need to take action to protect their plants.'