Molluscicides are compounds used to control snails and slugs in vegetables, flower gardens, and citrus groves.
According to the AHDB, slug damage costs UK farmers an estimated £100m per year. Unfortunately, despite the recent dry conditions, the excessively wet start to the year is predicted to have intensified the challenge by significantly boosting slug populations.
Effective slug control focuses on the use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to control slug numbers and to reduce reliance on chemical control measures. An IPM approach to slug control is more effective than relying solely on slug pellets and can also help to ensure maximum protection to the environment.
What does an IPM approach to slug control involve?
In terms of controlling slug populations, IPM involves the following steps:
- Identification and analysis of the potential risk factors associated with slug damage
- Consideration of the most suitable cultural control techniques that can be used to help reduce slug habitats and overall pressure
- Trapping and understanding thresholds to ensure treatment decisions are justified
- Monitoring of crops while they are most vulnerable and assessing if further applications are required
Slug activity, survival and reproduction are all dependent on moisture. Whilst the optimum temperature is 17°C, the grey field slug can still be active close to freezing; other species are only active in temperatures above 5°C.