Slugs and snails voted top garden enemies again

Slugs and snails voted top garden enemies again
    Any keen gardener will know how important it is to guard your garden and protect it carefully from troublesome creatures keen to undo your hard work.

Common foes slugs and snails have been voted the top garden pests for the second year running, according to the Royal Horticultural Society.

Unprecedented levels of rainfall in 2012 enabled the creatures to thrive and these mild, damp conditions continued into 2013. They are particularly rife between spring and autumn, when they destroy seedlings and many ornamental plants and vegetables – especially potatoes, hostas and daffodils.

Vine weevil is often found in the top five and this year was no exception – in fact, it came in second place. It's one of the few pests that can actually kill plants and it's the larvae feeding on plant roots – especially those in pots or containers – that prove terminal.

Capsid bugs were third in the list of top gardener's gripes, marking its highest level in the survey for 25 years. These highly destructive creatures suck sap from the shoot tips and flower buds of many different herbaceous plants, such as hydrangea, fuchsia and rosa.

There was one new entry to the list – the appearance of plum moths at number eight. The small pink caterpillars feed inside the ripening fruits of plums, damsons and greengages.

Other top ten pests included cushion scale (fifth), glasshouse red (two-spotted) spider mite (sixth), mealybug (seventh) and both ants and lily beetle (equal ninth).

RHS senior entomologist Andrew Salisbury was quoted by the Daily Telegraph as saying: "If damp weather continues through 2014, it is likely that slugs will remain the number one pest. However, it will depend on weather conditions for the rest of the year – if the spring and summer is dry, slug/snail activity will drop and they may not be number one when we collate the data at the end of the year."

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