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Gardeners beware: warm weather leads to rise in slug numbers

By The Citizen  |  Posted: July 22, 2014

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The warm weather has seen more slugs appear in British gardens

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Warm weather, when it arrives, in a British summer is good for many people – ice cream sellers, barbecue and charcoal merchants, cider makers and campsites.

It is also, possibly less fortunately, good for a host of creatures, from ants to slugs.

And the weather this year, which has combined plenty of heat and sun but with a fair sprinkling of rain, seems to be ideal for creepy-crawlies of all types.

The slug population is up, to the dismay of gardeners everywhere.

Professor of Science Communication at the University of Gloucestershire, Adam Hart said: “It looks like the conditions have been very good for slugs. It’s been quite a warm summer, with plenty of sunshine, but there’s been a lot of rain but not too much. That means, if you look around in your garden, lots of things are nice and green and lush, so there’s plenty of food for the slugs.

Warm and wet Gloucestershire summer brings out the slugs and creepy-crawlies

By Gloucestershire Echo | Posted: July 22, 2014

Warm and wet Gloucestershire summer brings out the slugs and creepy-crawlies

It's a great time to be a slug

Comments (0)

Warm weather, when it arrives, in a British summer is good for many people – ice cream sellers, barbecue and charcoal merchants, cider makers and campsites.

It is also, possibly less fortunately, good for a host of creatures, from ants to slugs.

And the weather this year, which has combined plenty of heat and sun but with a fair sprinkling of rain, seems to be ideal for creepy-crawlies of all types.

The slug population is up, to the dismay of gardeners everywhere.

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Professor of Science Communication at the University of Gloucestershire, Adam Hart said: “It looks like the conditions have been very good for slugs. It’s been quite a warm summer, with plenty of sunshine, but there’s been a lot of rain but not too much. That means, if you look around in your garden, lots of things are nice and green and lush, so there’s plenty of food for the slugs.

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“The weather has been good for the food plants and that is good for the slugs.”

The damp and mild winter, which was much warmer than the long, cold snap in late winter and early spring 2013 has also been cited as a reason for the increase in slug numbers this summer, as eggs laid last summer haven’t been killed by frost.

Professor Hart, an entomologist by training, says the warm and humid conditions have also been good for one of his pet topics, insects.

Professor Hart said: “It seems to have been a very good year for them, we’re doing a study into flying ants and numbers seem to be high. It’s not easy to tell half-way through the season, but this seems to be a similar summer to last year and that was a good year for the flying ants, their numbers were up.

“Having said that, in July 2012 there was a very wet spell in the middle of July and the ants simply flew before it and then seemed to wait it out and fly after the rainy spell. They’re so resilient that they can seem to find a way round anything.”

Gardener Margaret Dixon, 47, who lives in Prestbury said: “I haven’t noticed a huge increase in slugs so much, but I have seen a lot more snails than usual. My lawn was absolutely covered with them in the rain at the weekend, and there’s hundreds of them hiding in the corners.

“I’ve tried a lot of things to discourage them; I’ve used copper bands and beer traps and upturned grapefruit halves. I don’t think they work particularly. I’m resigned a bit to losing some plants but I always hope that most will survive.”

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