grey field slug© Richard Becker/FLPA / imagebroker/Rex/Shutterstock

The abnormally warm winter coupled with a soggy summer has resulted in a generation of “sleepless slugs” responsible for a rise in crop damage across the UK.

Conditions last winter and the early part of this spring were not cold enough to send slugs into hibernation and now the conservation charity BugLife has predicted growers will see the slug population surge as a result.

Slugs will stay active while temperatures remain above 5C and the charity says the pest could lay up to 200 eggs/cu m.

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Last December was the warmest since records began, with average temperatures hovering around 8C – making it feel more like spring than winter.

This was a dramatic contrast to the freezing conditions felt at the end of April, with snow, hail and heavy frosts taking crops and growers by surprise.

See also: 15 growers tweets as crops hit by crazy April snow showers

Across many parts of the country slugs have been reported by growers and agronomists as a particularly troublesome pest in recent months, with spring drilled crops at greatest risk.