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Gardeners battle slugs and weeds

Sales of slug pellets and weedkiller have gone through the roof, as gardeners battle soggy growing conditions.

Slug damage is being reported at gardens across the UK

Retailers say chemicals have been flying off shelves after the wettest April on record left gardens teaming with slugs and snails – and full of weeds.

Product manager at Bayer Garden, Alison Mulvaney, said sales of weedkillers had “doubled over the last three weeks”.

“Weeds have appeared almost as if overnight, so it’s no surprise that after a sluggish start to the season, sales of weedkillers have suddenly taken off,” Alison said.

Bayer’s product manager Laura Varey said: “There’s been a similar acceleration in sales of slug and snail killers. Retailers are reporting that sales of slug and snail killer have almost tripled in the last three weeks.”

It was a similar story at B&Q, where gardeners stripped products from shelves. During the first week of May, B&Q reported a 51 per cent rise in sales of weedkiller, compared to last year.

The DIY chain, the UK’s biggest garden retailer with 359 stores, saw a 44 per cent sales uplift of slug pellets.

A spokesman said: “The wet and mild weather has proven to be the perfect breeding climate for slugs and snails.”

B&Q’s Scottish stores reported strongest demand for slug pellets – with sales up by 115 per cent in space of a week.

Torrential rain in the Highlands was blamed for an influx of molluscs.

A spokeswoman for Doff Portland, Europe’s largest slug pellet manufacturer, producing 279billion pellets each year, said: “Doff is expecting a surge in sales in the coming weeks.”

The firm says 77 per cent of UK gardeners use slug pellets, which is not surprising as slugs up to 20cm long have 27,000 teeth and can eat twice their own body weight every day.

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