Hacks to deal with slugs, snails and insects in the garden in a humane way

You’ve filled your garden and managed to keep everything alive – then along comes the pests.

Suddenly your leaves are covered in holes and you’re left with nothing but a withered stem.

We need insects in the garden to help things thrive – bees are incredible pollinators, for example.

But slugs, snails, ants and caterpillars aren’t so great for your plants. Of course, they’re just trying to get by so using harsh chemicals doesn’t seem fair.

There are plenty of more humane ways to discourage pests from eating everything.

Freddie Blackett, CEO and Co-Founder of Patch says: ‘There are some plants – and very nice ones too! – that can deter unwanted bugs.

‘Aphids and ants aren’t very keen on mint, chives or basil, so putting some of those around your outdoor space can help keep them away from other plants.  With the added benefit of providing a bounty of cooking ingredients.

‘You might also try putting aluminium foil around the base of your plants as the reflected light can help to shoo aphids away from the underside of your leaves.

‘Slugs are one of the most annoying garden intruders and can easily decimate entire plants. There are several ways to reduce their numbers, without resorting to killing them. They’re another intruder that doesn’t like mint. You could also try making a humane trap.

‘Slugs are attracted to dark, moist areas, so put some foods they love – fruit peels or cabbage leaves – under an upturned large flowerpot and check daily to see if you’ve trapped any. Hopefully they should prefer this easy meal to your prized lilies.’

Another tip for slugs and snails is to try copper tape, which can be bought in rolls and either placed in the soil around your plants or around the edge of pots.

Apparently the metal causes a reaction with their mucusy bodies that they really don’t like.

And Freddie has another slightly obscure tip to reuse your own hair to deter them.

Freddie adds: ‘A lot less attractive, and slightly creepy, is using human hair (pulled off a hairbrush; don’t shave your head) spread around your plants to make an uncomfortable surface for them to crawl over.’

You can uses essential oils to discourage other insects – peppermint or eucalyptus oil, mixed with water in a spray bottle discourages ants and other invaders from nibbling on your plants, plus it smells lovely.

If you happen to have the space (unlikely if you live in a city), build a pond.

Freddie says: ‘Frogs, toads and other pond wildlife will feed on bugs and are a lot more pleasant to share your space with.

‘Not enough room for that? Try putting up some bird boxes. They’ll polish off a few of those irksome slugs and you’ll be helping more loveable wildlife to thrive.’

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