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Killer slugs to meet their match

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09:15 CEST+02:00
The Swedish Chemicals Agency (Kemikalieinspektionen) has approved the use of tiny nematode roundworms to fight the scourge of the Spanish 'killer' slugs.

The Local reported last week that the 'Killer' slug question was dividing the Swedish parliament. The opposition Social Democrats have demanded a national strategy to fight the Spanish slugs that eat their way through gardens across the country.

The Swedish Chemicals Agency has now given hope to despairing Swedish gardeners by permitting the use of the millimetre-long nematode roundworm in the fight against the slugs.

The nematode roundworm has been deployed in Norway for several years and researchers have concluded that they have a 100 percent success rate when used against young, small slugs in restricted areas, writes local newspaper Bohusläningen.

In the spring the roundworms are to be tested in larger areas, such as fields. The Swedish Board of Agriculture (Jordbruksverket) has become interested in the research since the 'killer' slugs were identified as a problem for Swedish farmers last spring.

The Agency has previously rejected applications for use of the nematode roundworm as it was unclear whether the worm belonged to traditional Swedish fauna. The Agency began to reconsider its position last year in the light of research indicating its natural occurrence in Norway.

The Spanish slug, or Arion lusitanicus as it is formally known, is a species foreign to traditional Swedish fauna. The slugs were first seen in Sweden in 1975.

Today the slimy organism can be found throughout southern Sweden, in most of central Sweden, and even along the country's northern coastal areas.

Denmark, Norway and the United Kingdom already deploy the nematode roundworms to combat the slugs.

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