British gardeners braced for invasion of slugs and snails

Experts blame a mild British winter

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The Independent Online

An invasion of slugs and snails could wreak havoc on British gardens with experts predicting that it could be the worst on record for the garden pests due to a mild British winter.

Each cubic metre of garden in Britain could currently contain up to 200 slugs, each of which can produce up to 200 more, according to estimates from Dr Ian Bedford, the head of entomology at the John Innes Centre, an independent centre for research and training in plant and microbial science. 

“They usually survive the winter in our gardens as eggs,” he told The Daily Telegraph. “Without a cold snap, it’s fair to say that slug numbers, especially the invading Spanish slug which can lay up to 400 eggs, will escalate this year.”

Gardeners should encourage natural predators such as birds and hedgehogs into their garden, keeping slug infestation down as well as helping to protect native British wildlife, he added.