Slugging It Out

Wet summer surge of slimy pests – raises concerns about slug pellet dangers

The disappointing damp summer of 2011 has been good news for gardeners’ public enemy number one. Wet cool conditions are just the stimulus that slugs have been waiting for.  Rather than see beloved blooms reduced to lace curtains, gardeners have turned to weapons of mass destruction to keep the slimy beasts under control.

Sales of slug pellets have been enjoying something of a boom through the summer.

However, slug pellets are not without their hazards. The pellets present a real risk to small children who may find their sweet shaped presence in the garden too much of a temptation.  During the holiday period the dangers can be exacerbated by small children playing in unfamiliar un-childproofed gardens when they visit friends and relatives.

Vigilance is difficult 24 hours a day, so one solution is to look out for slug pellets which contain Bitrex.  Bitrex is a bittering agent, which added to slug pellets acts as a strong deterrent to accidental swallowing.

Cameron Smith, Business Manager for Bitrex said,

‘We see Bitrex as the third line of protection for children. We always recommend that harmful products should be locked away out of reach of children and that parents should buy products with child-resistant caps. However, there are some situations where harmful products cannot be locked away if they are being put to the purpose they are intended for. And this is only made worse with products that potentially look so attractive to children. There is little difference between slug pellets and brightly coloured sweets.

‘You can keep most potentially poisonous household products firmly looked away in a secure cupboard or in a child-resistant container. The problem with slug pellets is that they are obviously not very effective at dealing with slugs when locked away firmly in the garden shed or garage.  But when they are in use, scattered over the garden, it is very difficult to keep an eye on children and keep them safe. No matter how vigilant, it is impossible to keep an eye on children at all times.  With  a product containing Bitrex, parents and grandparents or even aunts, uncles and friends of the family can have some peace of mind when children are visiting.

‘There’s nothing better for children than being out in a garden taking advantage of the late summer weather. Making sure that the garden is as safe as it can be is a responsibility for all adults. Using slug pellets with a bittering agent like Bitrex is a way of reducing the risk of a tragic poisoning. ‘



Ali O'Neale,  Cloudline PR:  tel  0131 553 8660,  07889 016 094.

Notes for Editors:


Denatonium Benzoate was discovered in 1958 by Macfarlan Smith and registered under the Bitrex trademark in the United Kingdom, Canada and the USA later the same year. First used in denaturing alcohol – making it legally unfit for consumption – it is now added to a wide range of household cleaners, pesticides, and DIY and automotive products. Since being approved in the UK and US in the early 1960s, Bitrex has been officially recognised as the denaturant of choice in more than 40 countries.

UK sales began in 1960, and by 1963, customers included I.C.I, Rentokil and Avon Products. The first use of Bitrex simply as a taste aversive was in a cream to prevent tail-biting in pigs.

Bitrex® has been used in a variety of applications since. One of the main uses is as a human aversive. Due to its overwhelming bitter taste, it is ideal for helping prevent accidental poisonings. Many supermarkets in the UK and Europe use the Bitrex® logo on their products as a selling point to their customers.

Ali O'Neale

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Cloudline PR
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