Make you Fink on Friday

It seems like every week another problem/danger surfaces.

We all know that pesticides are a problem in agriculture, but what about the home gardener.

There is one garden pest that most find nauseous…

The slug

The slug

Yes, those slimy creatures are hated by sight and hated because of the damage they do to leafy vegetables in the home garden.

Wake up to the danger of slug pesticides

Metaldehyde in slug poison and fertilisers is showing up in drinking water, while natural garden predators are dying out

A garden slug hiding under a leaf. Pesticides used to kill slugs contain toxic chemical metaldehyde, which is finding its way into drinking water. Photograph: Getty

Last month, it was revealed that levels of a toxic pesticide more than 100 times the EU limit were present in a source of English drinking water. The discovery of record levels of metaldehyde – a chemical used in slug pesticides – was reported by Natural England and the Environment Agency at the River Stour, which supplies water to homes in Essex and Suffolk. There’s currently no treatment method available to extract this chemical from drinking water – once it’s there, we’re drinking it.

This isn’t a sudden unexpected situation. The same problem occurred in many areas across Britain last autumn – when slug numbers exploded after the wet spring and summer, conditions that we’re seeing emerge again. The problem was identified in autumn 2007, when new analytical techniques allowed testing for metaldehyde, and since then a voluntary stewardship programme with guidelines for the use of the chemical has been instituted. Yet this clearly isn’t working.

The obvious source – and use – of slug pellets is gardens, but what many may not know is that huge quantities of this chemical are being used to grow rape seed oil, winter beans, sugar beet and brassicas such as broccoli. That’s reflected in the fact that the NFU offers a briefing on the issue. But one disturbing thing about that briefing is its focus on the chemical’s use and alternative chemicals. The idea of integrated pest management does not even get a look in.

The main predators of slugs in the UK are hedgehogs, frogs and wild birds, while microscopic predatory nematodes and carabid beetles can also be important.

Given the increased slug population, we might expect populations of those animals and birds to have increased. In fact, the reverse has happened.

 

Read more

Read more

Opinion:

Metaldehyde in our drinking water, and currently there is no known technology for water treatment plants to get rid of it.

So it’s there, drinking metaldehyde is not going to be good for you, despite what they say.

It kills hedgehogs and other predators, it kills bees, and it causes agonising deaths in dogs.

Yet we liberally spread this toxin around our gardens to get rid of slugs.

But there is hope

Salt, coffee grounds, ammonia, beer and many other organic items can get rid of this pest.

For more information on alternative slug remedies check WikiHow.

 

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One response to this post.

  1. We have an over abundance of slugs here too. Luckily they are avoiding the garden areas. A solution we tried was to leave more areas wild, not cutting or trimming things. I think it has helped they are all over especially in the shady areas, just not in the garden beds so I will leave them be where they are for now, if I needed to use something it would most-likely be beer traps.

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