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An eggcelent plan to deter slugs

An eggcelent plan to deter slugs

12 Mar 2021 11:00:00 Ruth

A few summers ago our eldest daughter invented a song that goes like this 

 

“Is it a girl…. is it a boy…. I don't know unless I look at it’s…. bottom”

 

She sang it loud and proud everywhere we went for about 4 weeks, and it's a catchy tune… so we all somehow ended up joining in. Even now I’m regretting restarting this earworm... But the point is, in many cases in the animal kingdom that is the way you tell whether the beasty in front of you is female or male. Not so the gastropods! In fact every snail and slug in your garden is actually hermaphroditic, both male and female. Great news for slugs and snails as anybody is fair game for mating, less good for our gardens though as in every mating session BOTH PARTIES LAY EGGS! The common brown garden snail or Helix Aspersa lays on average 86 eggs. And there are two of them getting fertilised here so that's an average of 172 eggs per coupling. Now the garden snail also has about 14000 teeth (snails have the most teeth of any animal). If you do the maths here that makes 2.4 million tiny rasping teeth to eat their way through your dahlias from every, single, copulation. Wow.

 

 

With this in mind it's pretty useful to identify slug and snail eggs early and to eliminate the threat before they also hatch and get jiggy… if you start looking at the number of teeth when you have each hatchling also mating it gets very, very scary! A few years ago I couldn't identify a snail egg from a line up but luckily it's not actually that hard to do. The image below shows what they look like on soil. They are sticky, gelatinous and generally hidden under organic matter like leaves or mulch.They are also a big favourite of birds in the garden so if you uncover them to the sunlight, the wildlife will usually make short work of the cleanup operation!

 

 

With all this in mind it's really important when you use our Slug Rings that you check for any snails and slugs, or their eggs, when fitting the ring around your plants. The copper is really excellent at repelling the creatures but will also double as a prison cell with your favourite plant as its only meal if you don't check when fitting!



 

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