Controlling the threat of slugs naturally
It’s been a very wet growing season, even in my usually dry corner of North-East England, so there’s been an upswing in numbers of both slugs and snails.
My garden suffers more from snail damage than slugs, so I wasn’t expecting brilliant results from Nemaslug, which controls all common species of small to medium-sized slugs.
However, results have been encouraging in my test bed, containing patty pan squash, borlotti beans, OutREDgeous lettuce and Cavolo Nero Kale.
Before the nematodes were applied, the beans had been pretty much stripped of all foliage and were beyond redemption. The kale had been nibbled but the squash and lettuce were in good condition.
Effective in wet conditions
Luckily, Nemaslug is particularly effective in wet conditions, when slugs are at their worst and pellets are at their least effective.
My main concern was snails and I was delighted to see that Nemaslug will kill them.
Be warned, although some retailers sell it for that purpose, manufacturers BASF states that Nemaslug is not generally an effective snail treatment due to the snail lifecycle.
However, after the six-week trial period (that is how long the nematodes are supposed to be effective for), I can say I’m very happy with the results.
The plants in the bed are absolutely thriving, especially the patty pan squash, which is the first time I’d had any success in growing them. The kale has been eaten a bit where it overhangs the bamboo fencing at the back – snail damage, I think.
My advice – if you’re an organic gardener, nematodes aren’t cheap but are worth the money, as long as you follow the instructions carefully and apply right through the growing season.
Start your control early and you will be able to target the young slugs growing under the ground before they do any damage. Unlike chemical pellets, nematodes continue to work well during wet weather.
Nemaslug is a biological control slug control product containing nematodes of Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita, microscopic worms that are already present in the soil, so is suitable for organic gardening.
How nematodes work
Nematodes attack the pest by entering natural body openings, releasing a bacteria which quickly and safely kills it.
The nematodes then reproduce inside the dead pest and release a new generation, which disperses and searches for further prey.
Slugs stop feeding and die between four to 21 days as nematodes spread throughout their body.
For more information, visit www.agricentre.basf.co.uk.