integrated pest management

Agriolimax spp. and Arion spp.

Soft-bodied and slimy, slugs, Agriolimax spp. and Arion spp., and the slime trails that they leave are common in many strawberry plantings.

Gray garden slug. Most slugs in strawberries range in length from 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches (12 - 36 mm).

Gray garden slug

Slugs damage fruit by eating deep holes into the surface of berries. Slugs that damage strawberries in Illinois in the spring and early summer hatched from eggs deposited in strawberry plantings the previous fall. Conditions that favor egg-laying in the fall include the continuous presence of straw mulches. Slug survival and fruit damage in the spring are greatest in dense, wide rows and when overcast and rainy weather creates continuously moist conditions in strawberry beds.

Removal of straw mulch after harvest, summer renovation, and delaying fall mulching as long as is practical are effective steps in reducing slug populations. Slug baits that contain metaldehyde may be used in strawberries only if the baits are applied to the soil surface (and to mulch) and do not contact plants.

See also: Slugs