Effective methods to banish pest from garden – ‘they’ll struggle’

Clodagh McKenna reveals tip for getting rid of slugs

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Slugs remain active throughout the year, unlike snails, which are dormant during autumn and winter. This can be incredibly annoying for gardeners who find slugs in their plant pots as well as damage on their crops. Although no longer classed as pests by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), most gardeners will want to keep them away.

Slugs also provide food for all sorts of wildlife including birds and insects, so it is recommended only to get rid of them if they are a nuisance.

James Partridge at Greenshop said: “While you might think of slugs and snails as greedy predators feasting on your veg patch, it’s important to remember that these pesky bugs are also pretty for lots of other garden wildlife, including birds, frogs, toads, hedgehogs and even carpet beetles.

“So, by encouraging more of these creatures to visit your garden, you can control slugs and snails naturally.”

The expert suggested investing in a bird feeder or table and using some seed or nut mix. Ponds are also a great way to attract frogs and toads which will eat the slugs.

James added: “While encouraging predators is effective, it can take a bit of time to work.

“So, if slugs and snails are laying siege to your plants right now, you may also want to add some eco-friendly physical barriers.

“Horticultural wool can be laid around the plant to deter slugs and snails, they’ll struggle to move over the dry, fibrous texture.

“They also struggle with sharp or rough textured surfaces. If you’re getting really fed up, try picking pests off and moving them.”

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Eggshells only act as a deterrent when they are clean and dry. When peeling an egg, try to remove the inner membrane and rinse if it is needed.

Gardeners should be aware that rain quickly makes the eggshells lose their effectiveness.

The expert also recommended moving them into your compost heap where they can feed on old cuttings instead.

James continued: “Slugs and snails tend to be most active around dusk, when their natural predators aren’t around. So, this is a good time to get out and pluck them off your prized plants.”

The RHS said gardeners could help minimise slug damage by taking preventive measures including raking over soil.

Removing leaves during the winter months is also a great idea as it can expose slugs, allowing birds to eat them.

The RHS explained: “Use traps such as scooped out orange, grapefruit or melon skins. They can be laid cut side down, or jars part-filled with beer and sunk into the soil near vulnerable plants.

“Check and empty these regularly, preferably every morning. Proprietary traps are also available from garden centres and mail order supplies.

Another common problem which households face all year round is ants, which can invade homes and gardens for somewhere to nest.

Mark Smithson, CEO of nationwide electrical appliance experts, Marks Electrical, recommended placing lemon peel around areas ants have been identified as well as chalk.

The expert explained: “Due to containing calcium carbonate, chalk is also a good item to use in preventing ants around the kitchen. Where you may have identified entry points for ants, you can spray powdered chalk around the entrance.”

Like lemons, the calcium carbonate interferes with their scent trail. Stick chalk can also be used where Britons can draw around their doors.

Working similarly, the expert also suggested trying salt. He said: “Salt is a good option and readily available in most people’s homes. Table salt is fine and you can mix in a good amount of hot water and using a spray bottle, cover any entry points around the kitchen and home.

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