Author Topic: Ferric Phosphate Slug Pellets - how effective are they?  (Read 533 times)

George the Pigman

  • Acre
  • ****
  • Posts: 367
  • Birmingham, neutral clay soil
Ferric Phosphate Slug Pellets - how effective are they?
« on: December 28, 2018, 16:43:43 »
I've just read that Metaldehyde slug pellets will be banned for amateur and farming use from Spring 2020.
The alternative suggested by DEFRA is ferric phosphate pellets.
Has anyone used them and if so how effective are they?

Allotments 4 All

Ferric Phosphate Slug Pellets - how effective are they?
« on: December 28, 2018, 16:43:43 »

Obelixx

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,141
  • Vendée, France
Re: Ferric Phosphate Slug Pellets - how effective are they?
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2018, 20:34:41 »
My Belgian garden had plenty of rainfall, loads of hostas and loads of slugs which also found young veggies, daffs, clematis shoots and so on very tasty too.   I would start on St Valentine's Day - easy to remember - and scatter just a few very sparingly round susceptible plants.   Repeated once a week thru spring this proved very effective in catching them as they hatched from eggs or emerged form hibernation and before they had time to breed or scoff my treasures.

This new garden is much drier in summer and so has snails rather than slugs.    I planted out hostas in a  new bed but had to rescue them back into pots as the pellets don't seem to work as well on them.   I'm working on plan B - a raised bed with copper tape, gritty mulches and so on and so forth.    Not had many problems in the veggie garden so far but no doubt that will come as we expand the beds and improve soil and fertility.
Obxx - Vendée France

Vinlander

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,491
  • North London - heavy but fertile clay
Re: Ferric Phosphate Slug Pellets - how effective are they?
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2018, 11:48:57 »
I'm very interested in how copper tape works - it's not clear.

Some people think that molluscs simply don't like copper - maybe because it smells like their blood to them?

A common idea is that it gives them an electric shock - but this can only happen if there is a connection to another metal (or compound) that has a different electrode potential - this makes a battery that's just waiting for a damp electrolyte to stroll along (if gastropods can stroll).

The simplest way to arrange this would be to use impure copper and hope that has patches of other metals all over its surface - I suspect this (at the price of pure silver) is what they sell - and that's assuming it works. Obviously I would avoid electrical copper - but I'm not sure if plumbing copper would be impure enough either.

I need to (or anyone else can) do some experiments...

Something that should definitely work would be getting a very patchy layer of eg. zinc onto copper - probably just roughening clean copper and rubbing it with zinc would be enough.

Even easier would be getting some galvanised wire or sheet and giving it a dunk in copper sulphate until the colour changes very slightly because copper has been deposited.

Another project for a rainy day - as if I don't have enough already...

Cheers.

PS. back in the day I tried to make hydrogen by cutting up old batteries and putting the zinc metal in acid (everything in a battery was visible in those days - but old ones leaked like crazy).

It didn't work and I was very confused - at the time I knew that battery zinc was incredibly pure but I didn't put 2&2 together.

A few years later my chemistry teacher mentioned that the 'foamy' zinc they bought to make hydrogen did work (impure?) but it worked a lot better after a dunk in copper sulphate. Light dawned.
With a microholding you always get too much or bugger-all. (I'm fed up calling it an allotment garden - it just encourages the tidy-police).

The simple/complex split is more & more important: Simple fertilisers Poor, complex ones Good. Simple (old) poisons predictable, others (new) the opposite.

ACE

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 6,667
Re: Ferric Phosphate Slug Pellets - how effective are they?
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2018, 12:24:50 »
Get a grapefruit, penny stuck in one side, half a crown in the other, big roll of copper wire right around the plot join up with the battery BINGO!  What a load of faffing about so is all the other copper stuff.

Start again, get a grapefruit and have it for breakfast, put the empty cups on the allotment, collect a few slugs from underneath and make a nematode culture, cheap and cheerful low tec solution that works.

ancellsfarmer

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,017
  • Plot is London clay, rich in Mesozoic fossils
Re: Ferric Phosphate Slug Pellets - how effective are they?
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2018, 12:41:44 »
Metaldehyde is only to be restricted for use outside, remaining permissible for 'greenhouses'. I suspect that 'greenhouses' may come in differing sizes, and that those of the size of a milk bottle or jam jar may perform the task legally and effectively.
Freelance cultivator qualified within the University of Life.

earlypea

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 593
Re: Ferric Phosphate Slug Pellets - how effective are they?
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2019, 16:20:27 »
The alternative suggested by DEFRA is ferric phosphate pellets.
Has anyone used them and if so how effective are they?

Lately, not very useful I'm afraid.

I can remember using them in the past and they had some effect, but then they started to vanish, literally overnight.  I'd sprinkle in the evening, go home and by morning there'd be nothing left of them and it hadn't rained.

Then one night I sat at the side of the plot and a large rat ran out from the neighbour's brambles and hoovered them all up.  He had a lovely shiny coat.  I had a google and found someone else experienced the same.  Apparently they are pelleted in an edible medium which rodents go for.  So they did work (not as effectively as the others, but I don't want to use those) until they were discovered by the rat or rats.

Slug nematodes are more effective IMHO, but you have to be well organised and know when it's going to rain.  They're expensive, but seem to have a cumulative effect over time.  Used to do it before major planting out and then in a wet spell.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2019, 16:24:10 by earlypea »

ACE

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 6,667
Re: Ferric Phosphate Slug Pellets - how effective are they?
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2019, 17:31:11 »
They don't have to be expensive if you have the time. Stole this from another site.

Collect as many slugs as you can find in a jar that has a few small air holes punched in the lid with a hammer and nail – and a few weed leaves for them to eat. The best time to hunt for slugs is after dark. In the gloom, slugs become quite brazen and eat on top of leaves as opposed to holing up in cool, dark and damp places as by day.


If stumbling around with a torch is a bridge too far, look for slugs during the day in the drainage holes of pots, beneath stones and hunkered in long grass. If they evade your efforts, set traps. A classic that works brilliantly for hard-to-find small ground-dwelling slugs is to place the scooped out half-shells of grapefruits near the crowns of vulnerable plants.

 
Come dawn, the slugs make for the damp yellow domes, as they love to chew the pith inside. Slugs also make a beeline for cardboard. Lay a sheet on the ground among long grass. Check your traps daily and gather your slimy harvest into a jar.


Once you have caught around 10 to 20 slugs – the more you have the better it works – decant them into a bucket with an inch or so of water in the bottom for humidity and a few more handfuls of leaves to make an edible floating island for your catch.

With the slugs safely inside, place a concrete slab (or any firm cover) over the top to seal them in. The bucket is the perfect environment for the nematodes and bacteria to breed. Nematodes spread in water, so check regularly, giving the slugs a stir with a stick. The idea isn’t to drown them but to keep them moist so the nematodes can hunt them out.
 
After a fortnight a high level of nematodes will have built up inside the bucket and the slugs will have died from infection. Now, you can dilute the brew: fill the bucket to the top from the tap and decant into a watering can fitted with a rose.

Prevent the weed and slug mixture from falling into the can with a filter of chicken wire folded over the can so it stays put while you pour.
 
Water the sieved brew around vulnerable plants – the raised nematode population will seek out resident ground-dwelling slugs and see them off.

Like the shop-bought version, this slug killer gives up to six weeks of protection. Save the contents of the chicken wire sieve (uurrgh!) to start off your next nematode brew.

earlypea

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 593
Re: Ferric Phosphate Slug Pellets - how effective are they?
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2019, 11:26:42 »
That's interesting Ace.  But I do wonder how you know that enough nematodes are present initially though and what bacteria you might be breeding alongside.  Is it positive or negative?  I'll consider it though in the fullness of time.  Am handing back my keys soon so no allotment to de-slug for this year in preparation to move but it's something to think about for the future. 

Plot 18

  • Acre
  • ****
  • Posts: 298
  • Plot in Mid-Kent
Re: Ferric Phosphate Slug Pellets - how effective are they?
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2019, 11:32:09 »
Do snails also eat slug pellets or get killed by nematodes, we seem to have more snails than slugs hereabouts?

saddad

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 16,988
  • Derby, Derbyshire (Strange, but true!)
Re: Ferric Phosphate Slug Pellets - how effective are they?
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2019, 18:59:04 »
Sadly no... slugs are best dealt with a torch and a boot in the damp dark twilight..

Like your idea with the nematodes ACE.. I use them and they are cumulatively effective but expensive. I too had noticed that the blue (ferric) pellets vanished rather quickly in the open, less so in tunnels and cloches and we have an increasing rat population too!

galina

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,863
  • Northants/Beds border
Re: Ferric Phosphate Slug Pellets - how effective are they?
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2019, 09:00:13 »
I have watched pigeons eating the blue slug pellets, they seem to thrive on them too.  But they do work when left alone. :wave:

ACE

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 6,667
Re: Ferric Phosphate Slug Pellets - how effective are they?
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2019, 09:08:37 »
and what bacteria you might be breeding alongside.  Is it positive or negative? 

All you are doing when 'farming' the nematodes is recreating something that is naturally occurring itself. What bacteria there are would have happened anyway. I suppose the only difference is that we would lay more nematodes in a concentrated area. It has been done with commercial cultures with no ill effects.

ancellsfarmer

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,017
  • Plot is London clay, rich in Mesozoic fossils
Re: Ferric Phosphate Slug Pellets - how effective are they?
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2019, 20:36:14 »
Ace,
I think you are correct. Having researched a little into the nematode sold as Nemaslug, it is a mollusc specific species and is naturally occuring. It seems to also be type specific, restricted to sub-ground living slugs. Sources however suggest that only limited investigation of species has been funded ,so far.
The naturally occuring nematode is described as 'widely distributed', especially in soil which has high organic matter, such as compost. By investing in compost, keeping high levels of organic material, one is increasing populations of all soil organisms, especially if the conditions are aerobic. Read of the works of Dr Elaine Ingham.
See :
http://livingwebfarms.org/multimedia/videos/complete-hands-on-workshops/assessing-soil-health-using-a-microscope/
It is said by Charles Dowding that he has slugs in his gardens. He also relates that they are,generally, less damaging than in conventionally cultivated plots. Perhaps, by promoting the compost mulching, it is true that soil organisms, including nemitodes, are promoted, and in increased populations, bring the pressure of slug predation ,into balance.
I expect to see, in line with the movement in agriculture and organic horticulture, much greater exploration of soil organisms that may be useful to us all. Its  certainly an exciting area for discovery, as to the levels to which 'ordinary gardeners' are able, through simple techniques, to accelerate Nature's methods and effects.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2019, 20:37:56 by ancellsfarmer »
Freelance cultivator qualified within the University of Life.

 

anything