Gardening, How To, Pest Control, Slugs & Snails

Dealing With Slugs And Snails

Usually one of the few benefits of a cold, snowy winter is that it helps to kill off pesky slugs and snails. Unfortunately, this year we have had such a mild winter that the little pests have thrived, hit by nothing more than the odd day of rain and very occasional light frost.

As most gardeners know, slugs and snails can be utterly detrimental to your plants and flowers and must be dealt with. An easy method is simply to keep your plants out of the slugs’ reach. You can do this by using hanging baskets or keeping indoor plants. However, this is not always practical or desirable.

There are several methods of dealing with slugs. Covering your plants with netting will help to prevent slugs and snails as well as birds from attacking them. It is important to keep checking them however, in case any slugs have managed to slip through and to make sure that the plants do not get caught up in the netting.

Salt is extremely effective at killing them; however, sprinkling a barrier of salt around your plants may prevent slugs from attacking them, but if it seeps into the soil and is taken up by the plants and flowers themselves, salt can damage those too.

 A tested and safe repellent or slug killer may be a better solution and these are readily available. They are often in pellet form and should be scattered around the plants. The slugs will consume them and perish while your plants remain healthy and safe. Such products are very carefully controlled to be safe for use when children are present or nearby, but it is always best to check if they are suitable for use around edible plants, should you wish to use them near any crops.

An alternative method to pellet-based slug bait and killers is the slug trap. These are fitted into the ground near the plants or anywhere where you frequently see slugs and snails, and the base is filled with beer or yeast. The slugs are attracted by this and fall into the trap, keeping your plants protected.

Moles, Pest Control

How To Deal With Moles In Your Garden

Moles can be quite a blight on a gardener’s life. You’ve spent a lot of your time and energy on maintaining a smooth and beautiful lawn and garden, only for little mounds of earth to be pushed up higgledy-piggledy… Clear evidence that moles have taken over your garden!

Naturally this is very frustrating, but there’s no need to worry – there are a number of methods you can use to get rid of the moles from your garden:

Moles Traps

One solution is to use mole traps. These are galvanised metal traps which are placed into the tunnel, set and ready to catch the moles. They provide a fast solution and are safe for the environment unlike poisons. One benefit is that they can be used year-round, in all weathers, and can be used over and over again. Mole traps are a quick and efficient solution to your problem, but  are not very humane and there are much better alternatives.

Smoke/Powders

If mole traps don’t appeal to you, you may like to consider mole smoke or mole repellent powders. These are simple, humane solutions that are also cheap and effective. Simply place the lit smoke or the powder into the mole tunnel and let them work their magic – soon the moles will head off to another garden! Obviously, once the smoke or powder has been used up, there is the chance that moles may eventually return, meaning this isn’t a permanent, guaranteed solution to rid yourself of moles.

Ultrasonic Repellers

A final solution is to use ultrasonic repellers. These are placed into the ground and work by vibrating. The moles interpret these vibrations as the movement of nearby predators, and will begin to leave the area in fear. To get the best use from the repellers, you should use two or more to ‘herd’ the moles away from the garden, rather than place them in the middle of all the holes. Doing this will result in the moles becoming confused, and they may scatter in all directions. So, for example, you may want to start off with the repellers very close to your house, and gradually move them down the garden to herd the moles away.

These ultrasonic repellers are a great, humane alternative to mole traps, although they may need longer to take full effect. It is possible to purchase solar or battery-powered repellers; the benefit of solar repellers is that they are completely free to run, although their performance may decrease during the winter months due to the decrease in sunlight. Battery-powered mole repellers will work year round, though obviously the batteries will eventually need replacing.

Pest Control, Spiders

Under Siege from Spiders in September?

Now that we’re into September, there’s no use denying that the dreaded spider season is once again upon us, when our 8 legged friends descend upon our homes to escape the cold outside. Over the last week or so alone I’ve had to catch about 5 of the things, and they just seem to be getting bigger and bigger! Luckily there are now a number of different ways to help protect against these invaders.

If you’re looking for something a bit less up close and personal than the classic cup + paper technique, you could try out a spider catcher, or spider vacuum, which won’t hurt the spider, but more importantly keeps the thing at arms length! These little contraptions are great to have ready to hand, and can also be used for hoovering up any other unwanted house-guests you may come across.

However, this still may be too close for comfort for some people (myself included!), and so there are also a number of defences you can put up to protect your home. Why not spray spider repellent around window frames and other entrances to create a natural barrier that is environmentally friendly and won’t harm the creatures. Or if you have a real infestation of spiders and other creepy crawlies, you can clear the whole area in one go with a smoke fumigator – perfect for attics and garages, although maybe a little heavy duty for most cases!

Perhaps the most effective way to guarantee whole-house protection is to opt for an ultrasonic spider repeller. This device works in two ways to help clear your house of spiders, and stop them coming back! It uses ultrasonic sound waves thought to be extremely uncomfortable for spiders and other crawling insects to drive them from your home; kind of like nails scraping on a chalkboard constantly. It also uses electromagnetic waves that turn the wiring of your home into one giant repeller- anywhere near a wire will be protected! Sounds perfect no? It is thought electromagneticism affects their nervous system, making them flee your home. Additionally, you can also get smaller, battery-powered repellers – perfect for greenhouses, sheds, attics etc.

So, you no longer need to live in fear of the 8 legged freaks! Take back control of your home, and enjoy a stress-free, spider-free Autumn.

Bird Baths, Insects, Pest Control

Bugs Galore!

How typical! It is exactly at this time of year, when all we want to do is enjoy some time in the garden – planting, lounging and gorging on barbecues – that all those bugs and creepy crawlies seem to have the same idea and come out to spend some time in the garden with us or even try to steal a bit of bbq sauce!

Obviously, some bugs can be very beneficial to gardeners, for example without the hard work of bees, our flowers wouldn’t be pollinated; but if you are starting to feel a bit overrun with creepy crawlies, there are a variety of ways you can control their numbers.

Insects and other bugs form a large part of many birds’ diet. Therefore, as logic goes, increase the number of birds in your garden and the number of bugs will decrease. You can do several things to encourage birds back into your garden: get a birdbath to provide them with a ready source of water; bird houses offer welcome shelter; leave some seeds on a bird feeder and watch the birds flock to it!

Another way to dispose of these unwanted pests is to invest in a trap or insect killer. Bug zappers use UV light to attract flies, mosquitoes and other flying insects before killing them quickly when the unfortunate bug gets close enough. However, if this sounds too cruel and you prefer a more humane solution that doesn’t kill the critter, try using citronella. This scent is pleasant to humans but pungent to insects and will have them flying or crawling away as fast as possible! Handily, you can find candles infused with citronella so for a bargain price you can add a little atmosphere to your garden at the same time as keeping those creepy crawlies at a safe distance.

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