'Killer slugs' pose a threat to gardeners

Gardeners could soon be seeking the best in slug-killing products as an invasion of Spanish 'killer slugs' has taken over the UK.

Attacking gardens and allotments and munching their way through plants and crops, the Spanish slugs have been mating with other slug species and can grow up to five inches long. They have also been found eating each other as well as dead rodents and, of course, gardeners' plants and vegetables across the country. Experts have said constant attention will be needed to keep gardens under control.

The major downside is that these slugs, a pale or rich red-brown colour, can survive conventional pellets and other anti-slug products; they also cause more damage and "cannot be controlled with existing measures", according to scientists. It is also feared the Spanish slugs could breed with British slugs to form a hybrid. Therefore, people are expected to soon be searching the shelves for the best anti-slug products available.

Spanishslug.co.uk is one website that provides information on the Spanish slugs and how to get rid of them, advising on, what it sees to be, the best products on the market. One comment from a user says: "I've found that Nemaslug products work well. The large pack just about covered the area I needed."

Nemasysinfo.co.uk also advises people on the Nemaslug product and says it is an alternative to chemicals; "it is safe to use and harmless to children, pets, birds and wildlife."

Meanwhile, insecticides and weedkillers manufacturer, Doff Portland, has discovered a solution in its Killer Pellets. The company has commissioned extensive scientific research into whether the Pellets could be used on the Spanish slugs and worked with laboratories in the UK and Europe to test the toxicity of its molluscicide pellet.

Doff Portland managing director Matt Jones, said: "As Doff Portland manufactures the UK's leading Metaldehyde slug pellets, we were confident that we could combat these nasty beasts and stop them in their tracks.

"The Doff Slug Killer Pellets have been put through rigorous tests and we have proven its effectiveness against these killer slugs. The range is available now for garden centres and DIY stores that are looking to retail a solution to this very serious pest."

The Spanish slugs first appeared on the east coast of the UK and it is believed they arrived in fruit and vegetable packs from Europe. It was first reported by Dr Ian Bedford, head of entomology at the John Innes Centre in Norwich.

A SlugWatch website was set up for people to document their sightings and help others get rid of their slug infestations.