Royal Horticultural Society and BASF Launch Landmark Research Project To Combat Slugs and Snails

Thursday 19 May 2016







A landmark research project, designed to help gardeners more effectively combat the threat from slugs and snails, has been launched by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).

The year-long research project, the first of its kind to be conducted under garden conditions, is being run by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and BASF, the only UK manufacturer of nematodes (which biologically control slugs and snails), will help scientists address gaps in their understanding of how best to tackle these common garden pests.

The damage wrought by slugs and snails is an ongoing frustration for gardeners. In seven of the past 10 years slugs and snails headed the RHS’ annual list of the top garden pests of the year, which is based on enquiries to the charity’s Gardening Advice Service.

The project, which will test six different control strategies, including those most favoured by gardeners, will help to identify which combination of treatments can provide the best results, depending on the environment and individual characteristics of gardens.

The creation of tailor-made strategies combining multiple control methods, also known as Integrated Pest Management, will give gardeners the knowledge and tools to make a real difference in their battle against slugs and snails.

The six different control strategies being tested in this experiment are:
1. Control (no treatment) – this is important to compare with the other strategies
2. Cultural management (mulch) – a loose covering of material on the soil around the plants
3. Cultural + synthetic chemical (metaldehyde) – the most commonly used type of slug pellets
4. Cultural + organic chemical (ferric phosphate) – a slug pellet that is certified as organic
5. Cultural + nematode biological control applied reactively (once damage is seen)
6. Cultural + biological control applied preventatively (applied regularly from the early spring)

RHS scientist Dr Hayley Jones, who is leading the research said: “The damage slugs and snails do to plants has, over the years, led to the development of a wide array of control methods, but these animals are still a persistent problem, which means the current treatments are not working as well as hoped.

“By conducting scientifically robust research into which combination of treatments are the most effective, gardeners will for the first time have access to guidance on which method best suits their unique circumstances. What this could mean is that in years to come slugs and snails will drop down the table of gardeners’ most troublesome pests.”

”Mike Finney, BASF’s Key Country Sales Manager Biologicals Europe, the Middle East and Africa said: “British gardeners are increasingly using beneficial nematodes as one the most effective ways control slugs and other pests. We were eager to join forces with the RHS on this project as we want to further understand how best to deal with these pests in the most effective, efficient and sustainable way.”

 

-Ends-

Notes to editors

For more information from the RHS please contact Garfield Myrie in the RHS press Office at garfieldmyrie@rhs.org.uk  or call 0207 821 3060

For more information on BASF, Nemasys and Nemaslug® please contact Graham Paskett grahampaskett@paskett.co.uk  07850 314 039 (mobile) or Fay Wilkinson faywikinson@paskett.co.uk  01332 258 333 at Paskett Public Relations

What is Integrated Pest Management? The FAO (The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) defines IPM as: ‘an ecosystem approach to crop production and protection that combines different management strategies and practices to grow healthy crops and minimize the use of pesticides’. This means it:

• Is a holistic use of plant protection methods that takes a preventative approach to pests and diseases
• Minimizes damage to health and environment
• Minimizes the development of pesticide resistance
• Is economically and ecologically sustainable.

What are nematodes? Nematodes are naturally occurring microscopic animal organisms that act as natural pest controls. Nematodes attack the pest by entering natural body openings, releasing a bacteria which quickly and safely kills it. The nematodes then reproduce inside the dead pest and release a new generation of hungry nematodes, which disperse and search for further prey.
The product used to control gastropods is Nemaslug® which contains the nematode Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita.

For more information from the RHS please contact Garfield Myrie in the RHS press Office at garfieldmyrie@rhs.org.uk  or call 0207 821 3060
For more information on BASF, Nemasys and Nemaslug® please contact
Graham Paskett grahampaskett@paskett.co.uk  07850 314 039 (mobile) or
Fay Wilkinson faywikinson@paskett.co.uk  01332 258 333
at Paskett Public Relations

About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood to inspire passion and excellence in the science, art and practice of horticulture. Our vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener, healthier, happier and more beautiful place. We believe everyone in every village, town and city should benefit from growing plants to enhance lives, build stronger, healthier, happier communities and create better places to live.

We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley, our flagship garden, in 1903. From our first meetings in a small room off London’s Piccadilly, we have grown to become the world’s largest gardening charity. At our gardens and shows and through our scientific research, publications, libraries and our education and community programmes we inspire a passion for gardening and growing plants, promote the value of gardens, demonstrate how gardening is good for us and explain the vital roles that plants undertake.

The RHS is committed to bringing the joy of gardening to millions more people, inspire the next generation of gardeners and invest in the future to safeguard a £10.4 billion industry employing over 300,000 people. We are entirely funded by our members, visitors and supporters. RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and help us secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit www.rhs.org.uk/join

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit www.rhs.org.uk/join  
RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262. 

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About the RHS

The RHS believes that gardening improves the quality of life and that everyone should have access to great garden experiences. As a charity we help to bring gardening into people's lives and support gardeners of all levels and abilities; whether they are expert horticulturists or children who are planting seeds for the very first time.

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit www.rhs.org.uk

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262