~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ THE ANT GAZETTE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Dateli ne: Tuesday 13th July 2004 Reports have been received from our roving reporters of a horrific attack on the Irish ant community that took place on two consecutive days, Sunday 11th and Monday 12th July 2004. A large and thriving ant colony in the environs of the Dublin suburb of Walkinstown has been practically wiped out in a demonic onslaught by a human being of unknown origin who goes by the pseudonym of ?the mad cabbie?. This human has been identified as the same person who savagely attacked another colony of peaceful, law-abiding ants in the same garden during the summer of 2003, spraying them with the deadly ant poison ?Bio Ant Kill Plus?. This most recent attack was of a most dastardly nature, and once again weapons of mass destruction were employed, (WMD?s) despite the fact that the nest contained many young and pregnant ants. The worker ants were going about their daily business with their usual vigour, and as well as successfully invading the garden environment and the surrounding patio area, had even made some inroads into the hitherto unexplored territory of the kitchen sink and larder. This unprecedented achievement was made possible by the sterling work of our scout ants, who spotted a small cavity in the surrounding wall large enough to give unfettered access to the kitchen. On returning to the cracks in the garden path that led to the nest entrance, the worker and scout ants were horrified to discover dead and dying ants littering the walkway. After further investigation they came across an odour free white powder, which appeared at first glance to be harmless. Regular readers of this newspaper will recall the amazing discovery we recently reported by an enterprising nest of ants in the
6;allsbridge area of the city, where a similar white powder was found littering the glass table in the living room area of a house they had infiltrated. On carrying it back to the nest they found it had truly amazing properties, especially when ingested through the nose! Thinking that this new white powder would prove equally efficacious in inducing a euphoric state, several of the worker ants immediately pounced on it, partaking of it freely. Far from inducing a happy party mood however, this new white powder instead proved almost instantly fatal! Totally horrified by the discovery of this new WMD, the remaining worker and scout ants immediately sought refuge with a nearby colony of marauding snails. Here they were told that even the peace loving snail community had not escaped the attentions of this savage human calling himself the mad cabbie. On a nightly basis he attacks them without mercy with yet another weapon in his deadly arsenal called salt, which leads to a slow and lingering death! The brave ants then effected an escape to a neighbouring garden, where scouts had reported the human owner had been seen vacating the premises, and immediately began the long and arduous task of re-establishing and repopulating their decimated community. We publish this report as a warning to any unwary ants in the Dublin area that have not yet come into contact with this merciless human called the mad cabbie. Avoid his premises at all costs, and report back to this newspaper if you see him talking to any other humans in the surrounding area, lest he is selling them his deadly secret weapons. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~ ~ I couldn?t resist a little bit of fun when writing my review of this product, a very effective insecticide called ?Doff?s Ant Killer?. Some dooyoo members may recall that I wrote a review last summer on a product called ?Bio Ant
Kill Plus?, a liquid insecticide I had found very effective in killing of the pesky ants that had invaded my garden. Well, this year they decided to wreak their revenge, and returned in even greater numbers than last summer, literally crawling out of practically every little nook and cranny in my patio, and even managing to find their way into the kitchen. (Through the ventilation vent is my best guess.) ~ ~ My better half (a keen gardener) was visiting the local garden centre, and I asked her to replenish our stock of ?Bio Ant Kill Plus?. Instead, she returned with this white powder called ?Doff?s Ant Killer?, which comes in a plastic cylinder containing 300g of the pesticide. It has a shake top, rather like a large saltcellar, and all that is required is to shake it liberally around the cracks and runways that the ants use. The effect is practically instantaneous, and after only two days there wasn?t a nasty wee creepy crawly to be found anywhere in the garden! ~ ~ The active ingredient in the powder is called ?permethrin?, which is not only effective in controlling and killing ants, but can also be used on a variety of other pests such as cockroaches, earwigs, and woodlice. It?s also the active ingredient in many preparations used to control lice in children?s (and adult?s) hair, but I wouldn?t recommend that you use this particular product for that purpose! As with all pesticides and insecticides, there are dire warnings on the container about how to use it safely, and about what to do if you accidentally get it on your skin, or worse, in your eyes or mouth. You shouldn?t use it near a fishpond or a river, because as well as killing ants and other creepy crawlies, this stuff is also deadly to fish. ~ ~ The product is made by an old family owned business based in Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, called Doff Portland Ltd, who hav
e grown from humble beginnings to become the largest independent manufacturers of insecticides, weed killers, and other pesticides in the UK. We paid ?5.99 for the 300g container, and after two liberal uses it?s still about half full, and our ant problem appears to have disappeared. It?s available in most garden centres, hardware shops, or on the Web, and comes with a strong recommendation from the mad cabbie. (But ALWAYS use it with care, and follow the instructions on the container) ~~~~~~~~~~~~ © KenJ July 2004 ~~~~~~~~~~~~
A couple of Summers ago we suffered from an ant problem in our home. The problem was caused by a combination of the hot weather and wall ties not properly filled in by contractors employed by our landlord. So, as a result the ants had been finding their way into the house through these holes. We contacted our landlord who merely told us to contact the environmental health department of our local council, which I thought was appalling considering the fact that it was due their contractors shoddy work that we were having the problem in the first instance. However, we did contact environmental health only to be advised that it would cost us £30 for someone to call and resolve this problem for us. We were also advised that the treatment they used could be a problem if you have pets and/or children because of its toxic properties. We decided not to take this action as we thought £30.00 was expensive but also as we have children and three cats. Instead we contacted Niall?s father who gave us a tube of Nippon Ant Killer Liquid. The tube contains 30 ml of the liquid and is for use as a home, garden, kitchen and larder insecticide. This product is best used during late evening and should be applied by squeezing a few drops of the liquid onto a flat piece of glass, metal or wood before placing on the ant run or entrance to the nest. We actually placed an amount of the liquid directly on each hole and at the mouth of the ant?s nest. The liquid contains an ingredient that is very attractive to ants and is intended to lure the ants straight to it. We were curious to know if this actually worked and so waited for a short while to see what happened. Sure enough the ants flocked to the liquid and began to take traces of the liquid away on their feet. The ants then take the liquid back to their nest and eventually the whole colony, including the queen, should be killed off. You do, however, need to continue applying the liquid for 7 to 10 days in order to
ensure that the problem is to be fully resolved. I was extremely impressed with this product as within a couple of days we had no further occurrences of ants in our living room. I admit that we did have further re-occurrences of the problem since that time, which was largely due to the wall ties still not being sealed by our landlord. The Nippon Ant Killer Liquid does a very satisfactory job of getting rid of the ants but in hot weather a new colony is always going to find its way back in as long as there is a route to take. Some precautions to take before, during and after use of this product are to wash hands after use, do not use where human/animal food or water could be contaminated, keep out of reach of children and to empty container completely before disposing of safely. We have been wearing rubber gloves while using the product to further protect ourselves. The liquid contains 5.5% w/w borax. You can also purchase ant traps for use in the home. They are round white containers in which you place a small amount of the liquid. This causes ants in the home to enter the trap and take the liquid back to their nest when they leave your house. We also think that this is a great idea and are hoping to purchase one or two of these to rid us of any ants that remain in our home before and after we have sealed the holes. Nippon products should be available to buy from most garden centre?s and DIY stores including Focus Do It All, Homebase, B&Q or Barton Grange Garden Centres.
This is another quick filler for theediscerning's friends (and enemies). It regards and combines enemies too - slugs, and keep fit regimes. So forget the category dooyoo provide for a moment - he cares not about fertilisers and herbicides, as he does not garden. But he doesn't like seeing slugs at the cat's food when both the food and cat have been out for the night. And so we come to sharing the tip passed on from the not-yet-Mrs-theediscerning, who probably deserves a better username, but needs greater anonymity than even her worse half (if you get the drift). Go to a sports shop, or even Index or Argos, and buy the cheapest tennis racket they have - it's probably wisest to wait for the winter sales or something, but who seriously expects much trade in tennis rackets in this weather? Then get a bit of British grit, as this whole pest control scheme involves being in close contact with slugs, which is never very good. Some how, and that will be left up to you, get the slug you intend to control (dispose of, remove, oust, etc), and wrangle it so that it is sitting on the surface of your tennis racket. Then flick said racket-face up, so the nasty thing is airborne, and bat the buggery out of it, and send it over the fence. Do NOT attempt to set up a rally with your neighbours, this is pure and simple animal cruelty. This might be applied to snails as well, but you never know - they might have a black box under that shell of theirs, or a location finder, and it might come back to you that you gave a snail flying lessons. Neither member of the theediscerning relationship has ever had a slug return and complain, however. Theediscerning mentioned keep-fit routines, well, when you have cleared the garden by playing slug tennis, you can do star jumps in celebration or something, who cares? (I nearly mentioned "playing tennis with slugs" then, but that woul
d be silly. Slugs don't know the rules.)
My favourite four year old put her pony into Daisy's loosebox and then wandered over as I mucked out my own. "Val". "Yes Brie" "Do mice have legs?" "Yes Brie. Why do you ask?" "Well. I've never seen their legs." I realised what she meant as a tiny live object shot up the stable wall in a brown blur. The mice in the stableyard, when disturbed, move so fast that I haven't seen their legs either. We are all so used to them that we would miss the little mites if they were eradicated. They are not a problem since we keep our feed in bins and any droppings would be swept up with loose hay and straw. Even my jack russell terrier, Jody, just ignores them and the horses are not in danger of infection as, I suppose, mice are just a natural part of the countryside. However, my reaction to mice in the home would be another thing entirely. Until recently I had a young friend staying with me as her parents had moved and she did not want to interrupt her A level studies. Zoe is perfect in all ways. Beautiful to look at, exceptionally bright, well-mannered and loved by all who know her. She is also fastidious if you don't count the fact that this was her first excursion into the self-sufficient adult world. Staying with me was a first step in this direction before she went to University. She had two rooms upstairs, including a study and cooked for herself. Having "lost" most of my cutlery and crockery, I finally went in search of them in Zoe's domain. I found stacks of plates with sauces stuck to them and scattered with mouse droppings. After a gentle lesson on basic housekeeping and a reminder that washing up was not something I minded, I had to get down to the job of mouse removal. Oh Yes! I now had mice! Here was more than the usual problem, as my house and garden are not a slaughterhouse, rather a haven for wild life. There are
exceptions to all things and the little grey house mouse is definitely one of them. Fortunately I had the answer hidden deep among the long- lost bits and pieces in my garden shed. This was a couple of humane mouse traps. There are various inexpensive versions of this kindly method of disposal and mine is particularly effective. It consists of a clear brown box 7" long x 1.5"x1.5". The end 2.5" is detachable and the bait is placed within, then slid back onto the body. Contrary to popular belief mice prefer some biscuit, cake or a little fat to cheese. The entrance to the trap is a moveable flap left flush inside the box. As a mouse enters and moves down to the bait, a plastic lever is sprung, the flap drops and the little pest cannot escape. I placed 2 at a time in a kitchen cupboard and left them. Sure enough, on inspection, the flaps were down and the boxes were occupied by patiently waiting rodents. I am informed that they should not be left more than about 8 hours if not to start becoming distressed. It goes without saying that they must not be forgotten. The good thing is that the bait keeps them from going hungry. I know! But many of you will know that I am a little daft about these things. Anyway, who wants to remove a body off a spike? The next stage is important if you don't wish to have your unwelcome guests return. They must be taken a distance from your home, the flap lifted and the occupants released. I could be seen early in the morning crossing the road and walking a short way down a lane with a brown box in my hand. A few glances over my shoulder, a dive into the hedgerow, and all is satisfactory for both myself and my little visitor. I caught 6 altogether and have not seen evidence of a mouse for some months now. I think they got the message. My trap is called Trip-Trap and is made by Maurice Juggins of Manchester. It is inexpensive and this, or similar, can be fou
nd in hardware stores. Mine have been easily cleaned and had scalding water run through them to sterilise, before returning to a corner of the shed, once more to gather dust.
For anyone who loves gardening and plants, the myriad bugs and slugs who will feast upon your flora can be very depressing indeed. Some resort to chemical bug killers, but these can have serious repercussions for other creatures in the food chain, especially the wild birds. Encouraging natural solutions to your problems won't solve everything, but it can help to keep the pests down without doing untold harm to more welcome garden visitors. Many garden birds eat insects, and thrushes will eat snails. If you can encourage wild birds to frequent your garden, they will feed upon your insect population - you get all the joys of seeing feathered visitors, and you do get some help controlling the bugs. Blue tits are enthusiastic bug eaters (and will go over your fruit trees, which can be very hard to spray anyway.) Hang bags of nuts in your garden and the blue tits will come. The spikey friend I refered to in the title is of course the hedgehog. Contrary to the beliefs of many people I've encountered, the hedgehog is an adept at surviving in an urban environment, and there is undeoubtledy a little spikey beasty roaming a garden not far from yours. So, how to tempt them in? Hedgehogs have short legs and cannot climb. To get into your garden a hedgehog needs a decent sized gap under a gate or fence - if a cat could get through comfortably, the odds are good that a hedgehog can. They aren't great at navigating steps, and they can drown in ponds, so make sure there are safe and easy ways of getting around. If you have a pond, put a few stones in it that will enable the hedgehog to climb out. My hedgehog was first tempted in by bread I had put down for the birds. It's not ideal to feed them on bread though, so I took to putting out a bowl of cat crunch soaked in water. I discovered that said bowl rapidly filled up with slugs. This is no bad thing, as the slug population in my garden started dropping noticably. <
br>The other thing you can do to attract one of these creatures is make a house - if you have shed with a gap under it, these are a real attraction, or else you could leave out an old rabbit hutch or the like. If you are very lucky, you might get a perminant resident. They are quite shy and mostly sleep during the day, so best to leave them alone. How do you tell if you have a spikey visitor? They aren't easy to spot because they will tend to roam your garden in the dark. If you are lucky, you might see it (I found ours in the vegetable patch one morning, which is precisely where you want him to be.)I've also seen them roaming the roads late at night. On tarmac, they are quite distinctive because their spines make a dry russley sound as they move. Other evidence - Sometimes you get foot prints. These are slightly smaller than a cat's footprint, longer than it is wide, with fairly long claws on it. You also get 'deposites' which are about an inch long, tube shapes and dark in colour, quite distinctive and easily mistaken for a dead slug. The other big give away is the serious reduction in damage to your plants. If you put down poisons to kill off slugs and snails, you are depriving these excellent little creatures of a meal. I would rather have a few surviving slugs and a happy scunching hedgehog in my garden - and they don't have to cost you anything at all!
I have a daughter who is two and a half years old,a cat and i also have real problems with bugs eating all our herbs and veg that we grow in the garden and i got really fed up as everything i seemed to look at in the shop's seemed to be dangerous to children and animals. I went to Homebase and found the ideal pest control spray that can be used inside and out is safe for and does not effect cats or children. It is made by Phostrogen and is called BUG-FREE it works really fast and kills ants,blackfly,whitefly,caterpillars,cabbage aphids,red spider mites and other types of mite. Since using this spray i have had no problems what so ever and my plant's and herbs are always BUG-FREE. I also don't have the worry of keeping my daughter away from the flowers although i still encourage her not to get to near as sometimes she can be just as destructive(kids will be kids). This is a great product and works a treat at a very reasonable price. I do relise that those who are anti GM may not like this but i really needed to do something and nothing organic worked. Any tips on using something organic and natural would be greatly appreciated.
Aphids make a mess of our plants but they provide food for the ants, who nurture, protect and spread them around.If aphids and other suckers are around in small quantities spraying them with a soap solution will get rid of them, but for a heavy infestation only poison will do. Having done the murderous job I noticed a great flurry of ant activity on the recovering plants, and realised that there lay the root of my problem. In Australia we had a great commercial product called "Ant-rid". A poison laced honey which you put in the ant path. They would partake of it freely and take it to the nest to finish off the rest.It beat spraying them and was far more effective. Bemoaning it's unavailability in a letter to my school mate I was given the recipe for my own "Ant-rid". Dissolve a heaped teaspoon of Borax in a cup of boiling water, add sugar till almost saturation and place the resulting syrup on flat containers in the ant path. Within a week or two I was ant free, and with the ants gone the aphids went too.
About five years ago, my local council decided to go green. As a result, everyone in the area with a garden was offered a wormery at a knockdown price. Being one with an eye for a bargain, as well as an enthusiastic organic gardener, I could not resist the chance to create my own compost. The wormery arrived, with easy instructions and a postcard to send off for my pack of tiger worms to start up the process. I realised that it would take quite a while to produce a quality compost and I started off by saving everything suitable to put in it. This can be virtually anything from hair to eggshells, teabags, old paper bags, any non-meat food waste (meat attracts flies = maggots!) to garden waste (try not to use too much grass as this can overheat the poor worms though), to empty egg boxes (the cardboard ones not plastic of course). Tiger worms are apparently the cream of the crop when it comes to creating compost you see. It appears that they produce all of the nutrients and minerals a garden needs in the natural waste they produce after chomping through the natural waste we produce. And produce it they do, a tiger worm seems to produce its own weight in bodily waste at least once a day. Consequently, I find myself in a difficult position since last year, as my wormery is full of worms, beautiful compost, just enough waste to keep the worms alive and one big dilemma! ```The Dilemma``` This is my problem, I have a wormery filled to about four inches from the brim with quality compost my garden is crying out for. I am expected to dig out the top layer, with the majority of the worms in it, empty out the usable compost from beneath, then shred up some paper to line the base and replace the top layer in the wormery to start all over again. I cannot bring myself to do it. I know I will slice up oodles of worms if I try this, even tough this only causes them to replicate I just cannot do it.
Furthermore, since last year I have tried to find someone else to do it for me. Being at times a little sexist, I assumed that a man would have no problem with performing that yukky task, so I have asked several, to no avail! Spring is now upon us and I must venture out and get this ugly task done. I will let you know when I finally manage it. ```Summary``` To sum up, I can say that provided you are not squeamish, a wormery is a wonderful addition to an organic garden. There is something very pleasing about being able to recycle such a large amount of waste that would otherwise end up in a landfill site, and the liquid manure that can be drawn off the wormery, via a tap on the side is of a very good quality and will make your garden bloom. Even if you are squeamish, provided you have someone around to help you empty out the compost, this is still a good idea. It takes about a year to be worth emptying anyway and meanwhile you get the liquid plant food that is drained off. Basically this is a recommendation, even if it hasn't quite worked out for me, I will get there in the end. Free, top quality compost ?growing? in my own garden! Update~~~ It's nearong the end of April, yet still I haven't managed to do the dirty deed. This is very frustrating, as the amount of household waste that could potentially be going into the wormery instead of filling up the dustbin makes me feel horribly guilty. Knowing that emptying the compost from my wormery, once done, would free up enough space to recycle large volumes of biodegradable matter is starting to nag at me. If all of us with a garden in this country decided to use a wormery (properly), the impact environmentally would be vast. To demonstrate this I will list a few more items that can be placed in a wormery: Paper Cardboard Finger/toenail clippings Hair Tealeaves/teabags Grass clippings (n
ot too much as this overheats the worms) Coffee grounds Vegetable peelings Dead plants Old bits of wood Wool Cotton Silk Fur (Grannies old, not politically correct coat will probably need the manmade lining removed first) Cork Orange/ any fruit peel Apple cores Anything, literally anything that is organic!
No, nothing to do with Alice Cooper. This is a serious one. Those of you who have had the misfortune, or simply the poor taste, to read some of my other opinions, will know that I have great difficulty in staying serious all the way through. It’s probably some deeply rooted personality defect, or it may be just because I think opinions, like life, should always have room for a bit of fun. But some things worry me enough to kill off the fun element, and I’m not just talking about my overdraft. I have heard enough horror stories involving garden chemicals to last me a lifetime. And while I do believe that whatever help in the fight against pests and diseases the industry can offer, that help should be available to all, I cannot help but wonder when I browse the Garden Centre shelves. I wonder at the array of attractively packaged, seemingly innocuous poisons on general sale. I wonder about the morality of the marketing strategy of a product, which tells us in big letters on the front that it will perform the miracle we all want, and in microscopic print on the back, it lists the scientific names of the chemicals it contains. I wonder why all it tells us in this microscopic print are scientific names. Which mean nothing to most of us. I mean, “contains N-phosphonomethylglycine”. What does that mean to you or me? Well, I’ll tell you what it means to me. It means, one drop of neat N-phosphonomethylglycine could kill you. That’s what it means. But it doesn’t say that in so many words. Of course not, that would be bad marketing. All garden chemicals are hazardous. Don’t let anyone tell you different. But herbicides are the worst (the magic products we naively think of as “weedkillers”). And among the weedkillers, the most dangerous of all are the ones popularly marketed as “instant” or “fast acting”. Because they are generall
y based on paraquat, or a closely related chemical – and paraquat is one we’ve all heard of, haven’t we? Look at the packet closely. Very closely. Tell me how closely you’ve had to read before you find the minuscule word, paraquat? In fact, how many of us actually read the back of the packet at all? And as an aside, these potentially dangerous so-called “fast-acting” herbicides are a con anyway, because all they do is burn off the green foliage, and sooner or later the weed produces new growth from the roots, which have been unaffected. Believe me, the only herbicide worth buying is one which takes at least a week to show signs of working. Because it takes that long to kill the roots. But I digress. I have a question to ask. I have asked it in many places, many times, but have not yet had a satisfactory answer. As a professional gardener, I have had to undertake an extensive (and expensive!) training course, followed by a stringent test, which I may or may not pass, in order to be issued with a Certificate of Competence to apply garden chemicals. If I come to your garden, and apply a herbicide without a certificate, I can, and probably will, be prosecuted. This is not a sour grapes thing – I believe this is totally right and proper. But my question is this – These same chemicals are on sale in the Garden Centres to the general public (or even their kids!), under Brand Names. Why? The fancy packaging doesn’t alter the fact that these products contain chemicals covered by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (1988). This is not about the rights and wrongs of using chemicals in the environmental sense. That’s a different issue. This is simply about your health and your safety. Which is being ignored because as we all know, the big chemical companies have more clout than the Government. So I can’t see this situation being regulated in the
foreseeable future. Which is why I urge you to READ THE LABELS, treat every garden chemical you buy as a POISON, and use them as carefully and sparingly as you can. And by the way, the unpronounceable chemical I mentioned earlier? N-phosphonomethylglycine is the active constituent of glyphosate, which is the main chemical component of Round-Up. Sound familiar yet? Please, take great care. And sorry about the lack of fun, but this just ain’t a fun topic. (Note: the rating below is irrelevant)
This is something so safe I would use it in the nursery. I like it because there is no icky cleaning out of splattered bugs. It looks like a trendy table top lamp, and indeed, you could use it as such. It consists of a bulb, which attracts your undesirable guests, surrounded by two sticky boards that do the trapping required. Unlike other bug trappers I have come across, the bulb merely attracts the bugs, not electrocuting them. This is desirable as that it would otherwise result in a "grill-fest" of insects, with the resultant gunk splattered over the bulb, grille and floor. All that happens with this trap is that the insects obligingly adhere themselves onto the sticky boards. The boards face inwards, so you can't see them (better and better!). The boards can be replaced as and when necessary. One morning, I was woken up by a loud buzzing by my ear. Upon turning on the lights, I discovered two things, one was that it was 2 a.m., the other that four wasps were in the room with me. They could not be persuaded to vacate the room, so I obliged. Before fleeing, I turned on the bug trap, more so to have tried to do something than simply giving up. Upon straightening up from turning on the switch, I has hit by a wasp en route to it. Encouraged by such enthusiasm on the part of the wasps, I left the room to return ten minutes later. It had netted two more wasps. At the end of the hour, we (trap and I) had a total catch of eight wasps. I hadn't even noticed the four other wasps in the room! It is sold by Lakeland (ref. 1545), but as a fly catcher. Over the last year, it has netted a bounty of mosquitoes, daddy-long-legs and wasps, but very few flies.
I cannot use traditional pest killers or any chemicals in my garden as I have a pond and cannot risk them running into it! However this year I have been plagued by bugs!!.My beans grew and then were demolished almost overnight thanks to the slugs, so what can you do? For the slugs or snails an easy trap is cut oranges in half, scoop the orange out and place the shells like a trap on the soil or anywhere around the garden.Then everyday go and lift them up and look inside and you will find all the slugs and snails quite happily trapped underneath!All you need then do is dispose of them however you feel fit.Keep doing this every day and replace your orange shells every week or so and you will be slug free!!. For the roses, flowers or anything covered in bugs or greenfly, blackfly etc- Make a very weak solution of 1 part washing up liquid to 20 parts water in a spray bottle.then just spray your plants, the results are amazing and it kills the bugs instantly! All you need to do is respray every time a new batch arrive! I find this kills most flying pests and even if you can use the chemical variety its a lot cheaper and safer to use as there is still the neighbours pets and the birds to worry about!
You can trap slugs in your garden without using chemicals which can be quite expensive and unsafe for children and pets. Just save a few foil dishes from takeaway meals and set these into the ground. The tops should be about level with the soil surface.Place them wherever you have seen slugs. Put a little bit of beer in the bottom of the dish. They fall in, and, hey presto, pickled slugs! Slugs love it and its better than paying for chemicals. (You do have to give up some of your beer though).
The Pathclear gun clains to kill all weeds in two to three weeks and to prevent their regrowth for up to six months. I have found that small weeds die within a few days and large ones are usually dead within two weeks. In fact they don't just die - they turn brown and then completely disappear so you don't even need to remove the dead bodies. I cannot prove they do not return for three months but certainly none have reappeared in the three months since I sprayed my drive so I am confident this claim is also true.
I am an animal lover, but I don't really like finding buried cat turds in my flower beds or even worse, my kids digging them up in their sand pit. There are LOADS of cat/dog repellants on the market but all the ones I have tried dont seem to work all that well. The cat repellants have even kept my dogs indoors because they cant stand the smell either. My poor carpets! What I have found that is VERY effective with cats at least is Citronella. Citronella oil can be bought from most large chemists. 100ml is about £3.00. This can also be used as an insect repellant so it can kill two birds with one stone. I use one of the large bottle hand pump sprayers with the spray head on a hose that takes about 5 litres of water. Add the whole 100ml bottle of Citronella oil to the water and mix vigorously until a very good mix is achieved. Pump up the sprayer and spray around fences, gates, any scratching posts, cat spraying areas, basically anywhere cats go or get into your garden. To keep cats out of your house spray downstairs window frames, door frames etc. It is suprising how effective this is! It has quite a strong smell that takes a bit of getting used to around the house but it does work!
I have spent far too long trying to keep weeds off my path - especially from between blocks. I do not like to use chemicals but have found a method inherited from my grandmother works - at least for well over a month. This is the salt and boiling water method. Both are easy to apply just to xracks using a salt dispenser and.or brushing afterwards. Then it is easy to pour the hot water into the cracks. Best done in a dry spell as it is not diluted. This is not a jooke - it works for me. Oh and incidently it discourages slugs .....