Protect your garden from snails, slugs and leaf eaters

There is a wide range of highly effective and innovative products available to gardeners to help them care for and protect their plants against insects, snails and slugs.

Snails and slugs

Snails and slugs are your garden's worst enemies due to their excessive breeding and rapid destruction. They can be particularly damaging to flower and vegetable seedlings.

Snails and slugs are most active just before or as soon as the rain arrives and at night. Here are a few methods to control these two:

One option is to remove the snails and slugs by hand, which is best done at night with a torch.

Another remedy is to fill a container with a small amount of beer, which will attracts slugs and snails who will fall into the dish and drown.

Snail traps are also available through retail outlets. Sprinkle snail bait under bushes, and around walls and rock outcrops where they may be hiding.

Using snail pellets  is effective, but potentially harmful to wildlife, pets and children.

Leaf eaters

Leaf eaters are caterpillars, grubs, leaf-eating beetles, grasshoppers and borers. You know you're in trouble when you can see holes and missing portions in branches, stems, shrubs, buds, flower petals and fruit. It is important that the problem is dealt with as soon as possible before the damage is irreparable.

Some eco-friendly preventative measures can be taken to protect your garden from these pests. Several insect and animal predators are extremely effective at naturally counteracting some pests. These are lace wings, lady bugs, hover flies, caterpillar parasites, parasitic wasps and praying mantis. The pests that they pray on can include mealy bugs, mites, moth eggs, caterpillars, whiteflies, cabbage loopers, thrips, leafhoppers, flea beetles and scale insects.

To get these insects into your garden use companion planting. Start by growing herbs like coriander, fennel, parsley and other flowers such as daisies, dandelions, marigolds, sunflowers, thistle, and yarrow.

Their flowers encourage these insects to lay their eggs into grubs, aphids and other pests in the garden. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae feast on the host.

A healthy garden is less likely to succumb to insect attacks. Keep plants well fed, watered and mulched and apply seaweed extract as a preventative measure.

Insect traps are also an option to use as a preventative measure.

Spraying unwanted pests

Some gardeners make their own organic pesticides that taste so terrible that your pests will move on. Two examples are mixing garlic, chilli and onion or mixing kelp and neem oil.

Pyrethrum sprays, which are made from flower extracts, are effective but tend to linger, therefore they can damage new arrivals of good insects.

There are many eco-friendly and chemical sprays available. It is advisable to confirm which pests are in your garden and then ask a Bunnings Team Member for advice.

Remember, always follow dosage rates and safety instructions.

Stay safe

When using pesticides, wear protective clothing, gloves, face shield and a respirator where indicated on the pesticide label.

It is important to protect your skin and the eyes at all times, especially when handling any concentrated chemical. Also, take extra care when in a confined space, such as glasshouse.

Wash thoroughly in warm soapy water immediately after spraying, making sure to scrub all skin areas exposed during spraying or, better still, have a shower.

If poisoning occurs, follow first aid instructions printed on the label and seek immediate medical attention. Always keep tools and materials away from children and read the instructions before beginning your project.

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