SLUG POPULATIONS this November could reach twelve times their 2003 level, according to model predictions.

“The wet weather we have had in the last couple of months has changed the prediction dramatically,” revealed Jenna Willis at the Rothamsted Research Plant and Invertebrate Ecology department.

Warm and wet conditions this autumn have proved ideal for slug populations, she told growers attending the Tillage 2004 event at Twycross in Leicestershire (Sept 14).

The model can also be used to predict long-term fluctuations in slug populations.

“Our model suggests slug numbers will increase in the north and west in future years.

“But populations in the south and east will depend on their ability to adapt to summer drought,” she concluded.