- 1 Wildlife friendly ways to kill slugs and snails
- 2 Further Trials
Wildlife friendly ways to kill slugs and snails
I don’t like slug pellets. Slug pellets have had a disastrous effect on the wild food chain – as well as killing slugs and snails, slug pellets harm hedgehogs, song thrushes, and other creatures. Slug pellets kill these dear animals in the most cruel, drawn out, and painful manner. Nothing could induce me to use slug pellets in my garden, allotment, or anywhere for that matter – however large the slug or snail population had become, and however many of my precious plants had been eaten. Up until now I haven’t used any controls or deterrents to protect my plants from slugs or snails. All of my outdoor trials are conducted without any protection from these potentially destructive mollusks, apart from my Slug and Snail Trial of course – which was jam packed full of every slug and snail deterrent I could think of! This year however, for the first time I have used Nemaslug® Biological Slug Killer, both over the soil in my trials area and in the compost used in my corresponding container trials too. I have used Nemaslug® Biological Slug Killer before – the last time was, I guess about nine years ago, but I have never used Nemaslug on the soil in my trials area, or in my trial containers until now.
The 2018 growing season
I have experienced a series of set backs this year: I lost a number of my outdoor trials in their entirety to the beautiful looking, but bitterly cold snowy weather that befell us earlier in the spring, which cruelly took the lives of many of my autumn and spring sown plants, wiping out a number of my trials in their entirety in the process. It seemed as if we were clasped firmly within the depths of winter one day, and then in the midst of an unabating scorching hot summer the next! We’ve been stuck here for a while, this has been the longest, hottest, driest summer that I can remember! My water buts were exhausted, dried out, and empty by the end of May, and with no further rainfall until the 30 minutes of rain that blessed and refreshed us on the 13th July 2018, it couldn’t have been a worse time for my outside tap to fail! Once my fabulous plumber Aaron, had fixed the tap and my water supply was back in operation, it was action stations getting all of my plants set up to be watered automatically. After a considerable amount of time and energy had been expended in setting up my watering system, the following day my automatic watering system packed up – there were too many splits and chasms that had formed along the tubing, that despite taking time to try to fix this watering system on so many occasions it was not possible to repair this system to allow it to work effectively again. (It has been harder than I would like to find a fantastic quality, lasting, watering system for soil grown and container grown plants – if you know of a super duper, automated watering system, do please let me know!)
After these set backs, what with the weather, with my water supply, and my watering system failing, I needed to ensure that no further unexpected problems could arise to destroy any of my remaining outdoor trials, as I have already carried out a huge amount of work for no result whatsoever this year! I am keen to avoid losing any of my precious outdoor trials that remain, to any other unforeseen problems, so when the people from Nemaslug® sent me a message to ask if I would like to try their product, I knew that I had a safe and effective, wildlife friendly way to avoid an invasion from a cornucopia of slugs or an escargatoire of snails, so I jumped at the chance!
What is Nemaslug® Biological Slug Killer?
When you purchase Nemaslug® Biological Slug Killer, what you’re actually buying is a concentrated amount (my pack states that it contains 30 million nematodes – 30 million – wow, just wow!) of Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita – a natural, living creature – a form of nematode. Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita are microscopic organisms, they are found living naturally in our soils, where they predate upon a number of commonly found slug and snail species. By using Nemaslug, you’re not importing any alien creatures, or using toxic chemicals, these are microscopic organisms, that are found naturally living in our soils; so, by using a concentrated amount of these nematodes, you are enabling these parasitic creatures to be more successful in your own soil.
Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita – the nematodes inside this pack of Nemaslug will not harm earthworms or other soil dwelling insects, they exclusively target slugs and snails, and are effective at controlling a number of commonly found slug and snail species.
Nemaslug is safe for children, pets, and wildlife. These nematodes are safe for use on all edible plants.
Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita – the nematodes inside this pack of Nemaslug, predate slugs and snails. These nematodes are tiny creatures, which are barely visible to the naked eye, their small size enables the nematodes to easily enter the insides of slugs and snails, through openings in these mollusks’ bodies – there’s an opening at the rear of the slug’s mantle, slugs and snails have breathing holes, which provide an entrance, allowing this teeny, tiny predator to access their insides!
Once the nematodes enter into the body of a slug or snail they then self fertilise, (these creatures do not need a mate) the young of the nematode feed on the inner body of their host. Slugs and snails that have been infected with this nematode will very quickly react – the mollusks will lessen their feeding within a few days, before travelling further into the soil to die. The young of the nematodes you purchase will then mature inside the carcass of their host, before moving on to look for more slugs and snails to continue the life cycle, so your treatment can have a longer lasting effect than you might expect.
Tips for using Nemaslug® Biological Slug Killer
For optimum results, follow the instructions on your Nemaslug pack – take time to read all of the information on the packet before you get started mixing your Nemaslug application.
Nemaslug is best applied early in the growing season, but you can use this biological control when your soil temperature is consistently above 5C (41F). Only apply this product when you’re certain that your soil temperature will be between 5C (41F) and 30C (86F) for the following two weeks, at least. These nematodes are killed by extremes in both hot and cold temperatures.
As soon as your Nemaslug® Biological Slug Killer arrives in the post, take your pack and store it in your refrigerator at 5C (41F) (don’t be tempted to store your pack in a freezer, as this will be too cold for the nematodes) until you’re ready to use it. Your pack of Nemaslug will have a best before date on it, which is usually about six weeks after the time of your purchase, however the sooner you apply your nematodes, the more effective they will be. If your nematodes arrive during a particularly busy, or dry, hot, and sunny week, you may want to set a reminder in your diary for the following week, to avoid the worst case scenario that you forget to use the nematodes, and to give you the peace of mind of having a definite and unfailing reminder.
It’s simple and easy to apply a treatment of Nemaslug, but you’ll need to ensure that you have sufficient time to apply the product, as it can take a little while. If you have a very large area to treat, you may opt to apply a treatment to one area of your garden on one day, and then apply another application over another area of ground during the following week. Although, it’s important to say that Nemaslug packs cannot be opened and divided, with one half saved for a later treatment – you need to use the whole pack in its entirety, so if you wished to treat two areas of garden on two separate days you’d need to purchase two packs. If you have a small garden or allotment, you could join forces with your neighbours, or fellow allotment holders, and split a large pack between you – providing you could all arrange to get together to mix and then apply the product at the same time.
Before you apply Nemaslug® Biological Slug Killer, it is absolutely essential that you thoroughly water and wet the soil in the area you wish to treat, as this will enable the nematodes to more easily move through the soil, to allow them to find and effectively target slugs and snails. If the ground is dry, the nematodes will be less mobile, they will not be able to move through the soil as easily when it’s dry, so the nematodes will remain in one small, restricted area, and as a consequence your treatment will be less effective – so it’s worth taking time out to throughly irrigate the area you wish to treat, both before you apply your Nemaslug treatment and in the days and weeks afterwards.
Nemaslug® Biological Slug Killer kills snails as well as slugs. This nematode will also kill water snails, so take care if you are applying this treatment anywhere near a pond, and avoid using Nemaslug close to waterways.
Nemaslug works brilliantly in wet weather, the ideal time to apply these nematodes is during or after rainfall, or when a period of wet weather is forecast.
Nemaslug is best applied on an overcast, dull, and cloudy afternoon, these nematodes can also be applied in the evening – don’t apply this treatment on bright, sunny days as the intense light will lessen the effectiveness of the treatment, as these nematodes are soil dwelling creatures that thrive in darkness.
When you make your application, apply your drench of Nemaslug directly onto the soil, avoid watering the solution onto the leaves of plants if you can, as the nematodes that make up this treatment are soil dwelling creatures that will rapidly dry out and die if they are not watered onto the soil. If you inadvertently water over your plants’ leaves with your Nemaslug treatment, take care to water your plants’ foliage with fresh water immediately, to wash the nematodes onto the soil.
It’s important to use your pack of Nemaslug® Biological Slug Killer in its entirety, the product will not keep once opened and the solution of the nematodes mixed with the water needs to be applied promptly – you cannot store this liquid, nematode solution either – it needs to be used straight after mixing – all of the nematodes in the pack need to be applied at the same time. You cannot over apply this treatment, so don’t worry if you have concerns that you’ve applied too much.
Nemaslug® Biological Slug Killer can be used both on the soil outdoors and in the soil or compost of containers that are kept inside glasshouses. As the temperatures inside glasshouses are often warmer than those outdoors, you may be able to apply a Nemaslug treatment inside a greenhouse or polytunnel earlier or later in the growing season.
Nemaslug is effective at controlling both slugs and snails, however it is most effective at controlling the slugs that live in the soil, making Nemaslug a fabulous option to use in areas where potatoes or other root crops are grown.
One of the most fabulous things about Nemaslug is that this product is not diluted or washed away by wet weather, indeed a period of inclement weather can make these nematodes more effective at controlling the numbers of slugs and snails.
One treatment of Nemaslug should last for six weeks at least, repeat applications will ensure that high numbers of this parasitic nematode remain in your soil to control the numbers of slugs and snails in your area. Keeping the soil moist after you’ve applied this biological control will enable the nematodes to move freely through the soil in the treated area to predate on the slugs and snails, ensuring that your treatment will be more effective.
My Nemaslug treatment was only applied at the weekend, I will post an update to let you know how I get on, with details of how many slugs and snails have been eating my plants over the remainder of the summer! Update: To see my Tomato Trial Report in full with details of how much slug and snail damage occurred during this trial, please click here.
I used nematodes during my Tomato Trial. To see all my Tomato Trials, please click here.
Calendar of Specialist Plant Fairs, Festivals, Sales, Seeds and Plants Swaps
To see a calendar of Specialist Plant Fairs, Festivals, Sales, and Plant and Seed Swaps, please click here.
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Compost Trial Reports
To see all of my Compost Trials, please click here.
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Scented Daffodil Trial Reports
To see the results of my third Scented Daffodil Trial, please click here.
To read the results of my Scented Daffodil Container Trial, please click here.
To read the results of my first Scented Daffodil Trial, please click here.
Slug and Snail Trials
To see the results of my Slug and Snail Trial and discover the best methods of protecting your plants from slugs and snails, please click here.
To read about using nematodes to protect your plants from slugs and snails, please click here.
Sweet Pea Trial Reports
To read the results of my third Sweet Pea Trial, please click here.
To read the results of my second Sweet Pea Trial, please click here.
To read the results of my first Sweet Pea Trial, please click here.
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To read the first part of my Miniature Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial, please click here.
To see a planting list of ferns, orchids, and other plants that are perfectly suited to growing inside terrariums and bottle gardens, please click here.
To read about the general care I give to my orchids and terrarium plants, and the general maintenance I give to my BiOrbAir terrariums, please click here.
To read how I track the temperature, humidity, and light conditions inside my terrariums, please click here.
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