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Slugs Snails and Beer!


Garden staff at Bristol Aquarium have been carrying out an alcohol test to try and solve their slug and snail problems.
The Harbourside attraction has a large glasshouse which is home to a wide variety of exotic plants as well as a giant recreation of an Amazonian pool.
In recent weeks as temperatures start to rise the numbers of slugs and snails had also begun to increase. The gardening team wanted to utilise non-toxic methods to try and keep numbers under control.
Horticulturist Wendy Desyllas decided to use a variation of the tried and tested ‘beer trap’ as an environmentally-friendly alternative.
“Snails eat a wide range of vegetables and ornamental plants, especially seedlings and other soft growth. Most damage is done in spring by snails feeding on seedlings, new shoots and plant crowns,” said Wendy.
“Wherever possible we try and use ‘natural’ methods of pest control and we wanted to get rid of them without using chemical controls.
“As gardeners know, encouraging wildlife that eats them such as toads and hedgehogs will help, as will using copper tapes and ground-up egg shells or even hand picking in the evenings.
“However none of those options were really viable here at the aquarium so instead we opted for the beer trap and set up an experiment using a selection of different beers to see which one would be the most effective.
“Slugs and snails can’t resist the allure of a jam jar half filled with beer and enjoy it so much they often end up diving in! Lots of gardeners swear by different beers so we thought we would try out a selection of brews to find out what ours liked most.
“Somewhat to our surprise it wasn’t the stronger ales that proved most attractive but actually the low-alcohol beer which was most effective,” she added.
Rather than leaving the sozzled slugs and snails in the traps however, volunteer members of staff took the molluscs and released them in to wild areas in their own back gardens.
Issued on behalf of Bristol Aquarium. For more information please contact David Waines or Wendy Desyllas on 0117 929 8929.

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