Invasion of the killer slugs!

Up to 15 billion slugs are estimated to have invaded the UK this wet summer. This is an increase of more than 50% on previous years.

While the teenagers of this creaky island gun each other down with increasing and depressing frequency under the guise of the ‘postcode’ gang culture, through the back door the slug has slipped quietly in to take over every green patch of the UK.

Plentiful rain, warm temperatures and a shortage of sun have provided perfect munching conditions for slugs. If it continues to be wet and warm – as long-range forecasts suggest – the infestation could develop into a plague. The crisis has meant that a slug-watch programme has been created by Bayer CropScience.

Maybe Cobra, the government’s emergency committee will need to convene next. All this on the back of Britain’s worst ever floods, which have left large areas of cropland under water and mud and supermarkets warning of a broccoli shortage. “If these conditions continue the slugs will not stop breeding and they are prolific breeders,” says Geoff Philpott, a farmer from Broadstairs in Kent. “I’m trying to deal with four times the number of slugs and snails I usually have and that’s hard enough.”

The slug boom has already resulted in farmers’ costs rising and if they increase even further it could result in everyone being hit in the pocket.

Don’t … what ever you do, venture out into your garden tonight. Lock your doors, close your windows … the killer slugs are out in force … and they’re hungry.

Read more.

This entry was posted in Biodiversity, Climate change, Economics, Extreme weather, Food & Agriculture, Nature & Conservation, Population, UK, Wildlife. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Invasion of the killer slugs!

  1. ClareSnow says:

    I’ve just been writing about snail killing in my garden. the snails i meet aren’t quite as scary as the ones in the UK 🙂

  2. matt says:

    Excellent, we need methods of defence against the hoards of slimy, slippery, squelchy lumps of terror slugs. Mine’s an automatic machine gun. 🙂

  3. Pete Smith says:

    “Up to 15 billion slugs are estimated to have invaded the UK this wet summer.”

    Another illegal immigration scare Matt? These slugs are all British, born and bred on our sacred shores 🙂

    Don’t poison these creatures, it’s cruel and compromises the food chain. I know people who just squash them, I can’t bring myself to do that. I pop them in my compost bin and leave them to sort themselves out. Ducks or geese love them, take a bucketful down to the local pond.

  4. matt says:

    > geese love them, take a bucketful down to the local pond.

    Hmmm, slug pate. 🙂

  5. Pete Smith says:

    If you’re prepared to wait a while. Not fois gras, of course.

    Do your chickens eat them? I know they eat woodlice and worms.

  6. matt says:

    We shot the chickens. No one told us they crap continuously!

    (actually we returned them to Freightliners Farm. one was a boy after all. no good for eggs!)

  7. Pete Smith says:

    Matt, I am, as the saying goes, disappointed.

    Have you considered rabbits as a manageable, cuddly, toothsome alternative?

    Don’t think they eat slugs though …

  8. suburbanlife says:

    Well- the French have given the world that culinary delicacy, ‘escargot’, so now, you Brits have this bumper crop of slugs and find yourselves with the grand opportunity to one up the French foodies with ‘sanscargo’, i think best served up on a Belgian endive leaf, by way of unique presentation. Think R&D possibilities! 🙂 G

  9. matt says:

    Oh I can think of nothing more delicious than fresh slimy slugs slipping down the back of the throat. Maybe a certain person at the White House would like to try some next time he visits our Queen. 🙂

  10. matt says:

    Oh Pete, in some respects so were we as we put a lot of effort into our feathered friends. Quite the characters they were too! But alas reality bites.

  11. earthpal says:

    Pete’s right. Every organism plays a part in the ecosystem and these slimy delights add to our biodiversity. I don’t mind them so long as I don’t have to touch them . . . and they keep off my plants!

    They’re quite sweet actually, from a distance. They’re hot lovers too. Matt, we could do with a touch of the Barry White here:

  12. matt says:

    Oh earthapl, that’s toooo much! Copulating slugs … yuk!! I could only watch 20 seconds. Next you’ll be suggesting mating slugs have a right to silk sheets!

    (looks left & right … and wonders just how much more farcical this thread can get! 🙂 )

  13. Pete Smith says:

    I suspect slugs could cope with silk sheets a lot better than I do. I find myself sliding about all over the place …

    Perhaps too much information? 🙂

  14. ClareSnow says:

    Pete, I want to qualify my slug/snail killing, by saying I’m in Australia. The snails I’m killing weren’t part of Australia’s food chain until some other invaders arrived 🙂 I love the idea of killing rabbits, foxes, cats and all those cuddly creatures that are only good for roadkill down here. With cuddly animals I don’t want to have to kill them myself: poison or someone else shotting them is fine with me (although I don’t want them being tortured – just stopped eating and reproducing). And then there’s my own cats which I am completely hypocritical in not shooting. (Why wouldn’t i be hypocritical when I’m an invader too)

    Back to the snails – I used to use nasty chemicals, but I’ve since found iron chelate which is an organic farm input and supposedly doesn’t kill them as nastily. I will get ducks when the cats get shot. I hope the cats didn’t hear that 🙂

    >We shot the chickens. No one told us they crap continuously!
    That crap is good for the garden (although it does need some maturing. Poo – just like a fine wine)

  15. matt says:

    > That crap is good for the garden

    Our little garden, much of it concrete, couldn’t handle the flow of chicken shit those two little birds were producing. Add to that two kids walking through it and you have a recipe for disaster not initially foreseen!

    > I will get ducks when the cats get shot.

    You’d be an ex-farm girl then, now living in urban Perth? Do we need to warn the neighbourhood of your urge to shoot fluffy things on four legs!? 🙂

  16. matt says:

    Phew! Just survived a slug hold-out at of back door, leading in from the garden. It looked mean, determined and very slimy. Wonder if they’re related to the Triffids! 🙂

  17. the Grit says:

    Hi y’all,

    Since slugs are just snails without the shells, you should round them up and sell them to the French. With proper marketing and promotion, this could be a huge boom for the British economy.

    the Grit

  18. ClareSnow says:

    > I will get ducks when the cats get shot.

    I’m so far from being a farm girl, I wouldn’t know one end of the gun from the other 🙂 That was a joke about shooting the cats. I’m the annoying neighbour who has three cats and I’m not going to shoot them. I know they eat the wildlife and I should lock them in the house, but I don’t and so I have enourmous guilt at what a bad person I am. As well as pet cats to contend with, Australia’s wildlife has feral cats in the bush killing them. Feral cats live very happily in Australia, even in desert areas, because they can survive without drinking. They get all the fluids they need from their prey.

  19. matt says:

    OK, we’ll let you off the hook for not shooting the cats. 🙂

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