The majority of problems with the gray garden slug come at crop planting in the spring, Ron Hammond, OSU Extension Entomologist said. That is when the eggs have hatched and the juvenile slug starts to grow and reaches a size to start heavy feeding.
“And if the crop is there, they start feeding on it,” he said. “And if the crop isn’t there yet, they’ll wait for the crop and feed on it.”
In Ohio, Hammond said, this tends to occur between early and late May.
“In soybean, for example, because it’s typically planted later in spring after corn and typically emerges after juveniles hatch, it is often fed on early in its growth stage, especially during germination, which can cause a complete stand loss before growers even realize they have a problem,” he said.
General IPM recommendations Hammond suggests include:
- Using tillage in those fields if possible.
- Planting fields with potential problems early.
- Using practices to encourage quicker growth such as row cleaners or strip tillage.
- Monitoring spring slug populations and injury and applying molluscicide when necessary. A video on sampling for slug eggs is available at http://go.osu.edu/slugeggs.
Growers can use one of two available baits that contain metaldehyde (Deadline MPs and others), and those with iron phosphate (Sluggo) and a new one coming out (Ferrox), Hammond said.
Hammond’s Plant Management Network soybean and corn presentations can be viewed at: