Pest of the Month
If you start to see irregular
holes with smooth edges appearing on the plant leaves, there
are slugs feasting during the night—they also leave slimy
trails. Slugs tend to be particular on what they feast on,
although they may eat just about anything, if hungry enough.
If you have young seedlings, or tender or new crops of
vegetables just planted, you can bet slugs can find them.
These tender young plants are a slug’s favorite!
Let’s get to know your
slug—mild winters followed by wet springs seem to promote a
population explosion of slugs—they thrive in wet or damp
soil. Slugs are nocturnal and prefer to hide under rotting
debris, rocks and leaves during the day. They will also
migrate from place to place throughout your garden.
Britain has been termed the
“Slug Capital” of the world!
are hermaphroditic (they have both male and female sex
slug can lay around 300 eggs at a time
eggs hatch three weeks after they are laid, and if laid in
autumn, they will winter over before hatching
eggs are white, slightly oval in shape, and measure 2-3
millimeters in diameter
have approximately 25,000 teeth
consume twice their body weight each day!
will breed all year round (weather permitting)
favorite plants are hostas, delphiniums, tulips, and irises
hate: lavender, mullein, roses, and lamb’s ear
To help reduce the population
of slugs within your garden, try to encourage the presence
of their natural predators. Slugs are a favorite delicacy
for hedgehogs, frogs, ducks, birds, and ground beetles.
Nematodes have been used by some growers for more than 10
years as an effective way to control these pests. Nematodes
are aggressive organisms, used underground to treat the
source of the infestation before it reaches the surface.
They attack the slug by entering the body cavity, and once
inside, they release bacteria which stops the slug from
feeding, thereby bringing about a quick death to the slug.
The nematodes then carry on reproducing within the slug
carcass to produce a new generation of nematodes to hunt
down additional slugs upon release! They are safe to use on
food crops and are harmless to wildlife and pets. There are
also many over-the-counter and human-made slug control
solutions at your local garden center.
So, if you begin to see
little holes on your young plants this spring, don’ jump to
conclusions—they may be a sign of our slimy, slow-moving