Once Mother Nature sorts herself out and produces some settled weather we will once again be faced with the dilemma of slug pellets and sprays versus environmentally friendly killer.
Without doubt the best and most cost effective, environmentally friendly way to rid yourself of these two major pests is to encourage hedgehogs, frogs, toads and ladybirds – none of whom damage your plants.
After a good start to March with relatively warm weather giving the impression it was time to wake up and do what comes naturally, these creatures were devastated by icy cold winds, freezing rain and finally snow so that many of these useful gardener animals have not survived.
The Toad Patrollers have been out again, helping toads and frogs cross the roads safely, to their long established breeding ponds. Soon we will be seeing dead hedgehogs who have managed to survive the ordeal of this British winter/spring only to be killed trying to cross a road.
Hedgehogs, toads and frogs think of a slug or grub for dinner in the same way as us humans enjoy our favourite gourmet meal. Ladybirds feel the same way about aphids and will clear a rose stem of these gardener menaces with relish.
Of the four mentioned creatures, ladybirds are the most often seen and only really have one predator – man with pesticide spray.
Frogs are seen more than the elusive toad and again, apart from large birds, both share their main predator – man with strimmer/lawnmower and pesticides.
Hedgehogs are shy, timid creatures who do their slug hoovering activities at night. Hedgehogs walk up to two miles a night looking for food and if you a lucky to have one visit your garden you can encourage them by leaving out a dish of water plus meaty cat food ; never give milk, it upsets their stomachs. Sadly once again man is really their only predator with his car, strimmer, slug pellets, pesticides and bonfires.
Should you be lucky enough to have any or all of these helpful unobtrusive animals in your garden be grateful, and make them welcome they will repay you in the way they know best – ridding you of all the creepy, crawly, plant eating pests.