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|Slug Repellent Attracts Backer|
BBC, Thursday, 31 July, 2003 - A research team may have found an environmentally-friendly solution to every gardener's nightmare, slugs and snails.
They have developed chemical-free pellets which repel the slugs without leaving toxins behind.
The pellets use myrrh - one of the three gifts presented to Jesus at birth - and sawdust or sand mixed together.
Trials of the pellets developed by Cardiff University have been so successful that a Welsh company is planning to market and sell it.
The research was carried out at the univesity's School of Biosciences by Professor Ifor Bowen and Ahmed Ali.
Prof Bowen has researched molluscs and how to deal with them for 21 years.
The breakthrough using myrrh came partially from Mr Ali, who is originally from Somalia.
But the research will not just be an academic success for the team.
Swansea-based company Compton Group is backing the product financially and plans to launch it on the market this autumn.
Slug numbers are on the increase, with both wetter weather over the last few years and a drop in the use of agricultural chemicals thought to be partially responsible.
Gardeners have been urged to use alternative methods to poison in order to prevent other wildlife and the environment from being affected.
Other options used by the environmentally-conscious are eggshell or grit barriers which the slugs avoid because they are uncomfortable to cross.
Traps using beer - which attract the animals who then climb in and drown - are also popular alternatives.
Last year, researchers in the US discovered sprays using caffeine were effective in killing snails and slugs, or causing them to lose their appetite.