My battle with slugs and snails is something that is close to my heart. Whilst I hate them with a passion there would be a gap in my life if they disappeared forever. This is an unlikely scenario, they are more likely to take over the world, and when they do I will be sent to the Hague to be tried for crimes against slugmanity, and there is no way I could argue my innocence.
Despite warnings in the media that our mild winter would mean the worst ever summer for slugs and snails, this doesn’t seem to have happened, yet. We had a cold snap recently, which was mostly charaterised by dry freezing northerly winds, so this maybe killed off a lot of the population at just the time they would be poking their noses out.
So last night, rather late in the year, was my first big slug hunt. Temperature 14.5°c at 9pm following a day of rain showers, this definitely demanded action. They breed like rabbits, and every one that wasn’t killed last night will produce 10 million by August, or something like that. So I left no corner of the garden unexplored. I have seen much worse, in fact I was pleasantly surprised, but I still had a job to do. The veg patch was pretty clear, mainly due to ‘good garden hygiene’, i.e. no old pots and rubbish lying around for them to hide under. Not so the rest of the garden, under the lilies by the cat’s graveyard there were plenty. I’m not sure what type of lillies, you can’t eat them so they are of limited interest to me, I only go there to kill slugs.
These days I mostly use what I call the ‘double tap’, named after the special forces method of shooting someone. One smash or slice with a trowel, then a quick flick to toss the remains into the shrubbery, a bit like the sport of hurling. I don’t want their rotting remains on the lawn, nor do I want to see their carcasses being eaten by their hungry brothers and sisters the following evening. There is more of this in a slightly more serious piece on slugs, what they eat and how to control them here.
The final tally was about 40 slugs and 55 snails and there weren’t many big fat Spanish slugs, which is good news. I have done much much worse in my evening rampages and I will continue this fight over the next few nights before I can sleep easily, but this isn’t victory, I will never win.