Metaldehyde slug pellets have been banned from being used or sold in the UK today because of the risk they pose to other animals, including dogs
British gardeners have been banned from using slug pellets to kill slugs and snails because of the “unacceptable risk” they pose to other animals such as hedgehogs, birds and even dogs.
Metaldehyde pellets have been used as bait to control slugs, snails and other garden pests, but the government has moved to ban their sale and use after it was was advised that pellets can severely poison other animals
Instead, gardeners have been advised to use beer to kill slugs instead. Experts from the charity Garden Organic say slugs love the drink’s yeasty aroma, meaning they are at least “happy” when they fall in and drown.
The charity found that slugs are 64 times more likely to be caught in a trap containing lager than water, with bitter 53 times more effective than water, the Daily Mail reported.
Garden Organic’s head gardener Emma O’Neill said: “Slugs love lager. Many gardeners know that slugs are confirmed lager louts and their love of this tipple can certainly distract them from your plants.
“The smell of lager and bitter really seems to attract them.”
The charity advises using copper tape to protect plants from slugs or luring them underneath an old roof tile with a piece of lettuce. It also recommends raised beds and containers to deter the creatures.
Garden Organic’s chief executive Fiona Taylor said that the ban on metaldehyde pellets had been “a long time coming.”
“Metaldehyde pellets have long been recognized as posing an unacceptable risk to birds and mammals,” she said.
“There have been cases of dogs ingesting pellets, leading to sickness and even death. Toxins can also find their way into rivers and freshwaters, posing wider harm to the environment and other wildlife.
“We are pleased that the government has listened to safety and environment experts about the huge risks of this chemical, which far outweigh any benefits. We hope this is the start of a range of measures which sees an end to the use of harmful pesticides.
“If we care about wildlife and the future of our planet, we must make the positive move to organic, environmentally friendly methods for our gardens, allotments, balconies and pots.”
Announcing the ban in September 2020, farming minister Victoria Prentis said: “The scientific evidence is clear – the risks metaldehyde poses to the environment and to wildlife are too great.”