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.