Gardeners beware the invasion of the superslug

Horticultural experts predict that 2015 is set to be the worst year on record after a perfect storm of high winter temperatures and the arrival of the Spanish slug to UK shores.

The Spanish ‘superslug’ grows up to 15cm outcompetes and will eat fellow UK slugs. It also reproduces at twice the rate of native UK slugs, making it the number one target for gardeners. With no predators, it has an extra layer of protective slime making them immune to most products.

Entomologist Dr Ian Bedford said: “It’s been estimated that a cubic metre of a garden in the UK could accommodate up to 200 slugs, each of which can have up to 200 offspring. They usually survive the winter in our gardens as eggs. Without a cold snap, it’s fair to say that slug numbers, especially the invading Spanish slug, which can lay up to 400 eggs, will escalate this year.”

Whilst gardeners can humanely remove native British slugs by releasing them into the wild, experts warn to be careful not to do the same with Spanish Slugs as they could have a potentially damaging effect on the environment they are released into.

Gardeners should also encourage natural predators such as birds and hedgehogs into their garden ? helping to keep their slug infestation down as well as helping to protect native British wildlife.

Westcountry-based Wyevale Garden Centres say that last year, gardeners spent ?11.6 million in their battle to protect their gardens from over 30 species of slugs including the voracious invader discovered on our shores only last year ? the Spanish slug (Arion vulgaris).

Slugs like mild and warm winters and Met Office statistics show that average temperatures were slightly above what would be expected for both December and January.

Sarah Fuller, Marketing Director and Zoologist at Wyevale Garden Centres said: ” Last year gardeners removed up to 4000 slugs a month. It?s likely more slugs have survived this winter so gardeners will be fighting larger numbers and need to use really effective methods. So don’t be surprised either if you spot gardeners out at night, headtorches and all, tracking down slugs in their gardens.”

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