Short and Long-term Priorities for Research

Chemical Control

  • Growers need additional management strategies that enhance chemical controls and reduce the impacts of slugs on newly planted grass seed stands.
  • Quantify differences between mixtures and single product treatments.
  • Search and test newly-formulated molluscides in replicated field trials in western Oregon.
  • Assess if a second application of bait has a synergistic toxic effect on slugs because of previous exposure to the baits (Anderson et al. 2010)?
  • What role do insecticides play in slug control by killing off predators?
  • Attention has been paid to chemical products effect on juveniles and adult slug stages and not egg fecundity (production, percent surviving, neonate survival).
  • Define conditions for a favorable night for baiting.
  • Are there ovicides for slug control?

Biological Control and Behavior

  • Can we use the fact that slugs like dark, moist places to our advantage when trapping them with an attract and kill strategy?
  • Survey for biological control agents (predators, parasites, pathogens). For example, little is known about the types and seasonality of ground beetles found in Willamette Valley agricultural fields.
  • Can we exploit the slug’s interest in feeding on attractant weed species (balanced with weed control) without curtailing the crop’s yield?
  • Consider the interactions between biological agents for slugs and chemical controls for arthropods.
  • Can a non-preferred crop help suppress slug populations and foster natural enemy populations? 
  • Do slugs have a preference for: rye, wheat, barley? Are there crops that are more susceptible to slug damage?
  • Do slugs dislike hairy vetch, crimson clover, forage radish, oats, or other crops? Can these crops be intercropped and used as a deterrent?
  • Are there identified attractants that will lure slugs from long distances into traps for control or attract-and-kill strategies?  

Farming Practices

  • Examine fields of low and high residue, field histories, slug levels on crops prior to new plantings, management strategies, tiled areas, soil type, soil texture, pH, % organic matter, carbon and nitrogen levels.
  • Can we provide an alternative non-crop food (trap crop) to take the slug pressure off of the cash crop?
  • Determine the effects of crop residue management on slug populations.
  • Efficacy of underseeding non-crops between crop rows? Cover crop early- or mid-season?
  • How do mechanical methods affect slug control? 
  • Will mechanical control by disking affect slugs? Try 1) No tilling in fall or spring, 2) Till in both seasons, 3) Till in fall, no till in spring, 4) no till in fall, till in spring
  • Can less tillage help control slug populations or alternative year tillage decrease slug populations and preserve the soil structure?

Slug Biology

  • Follow the seasonal biology, age, species composition, environmental conditions of slugs in varying cropping conditions (e.g., tilled, no-till; clover vs. annual rye), life history studies
  • How far do slugs of varying ages and species move within a field?
  • Can slug eggs go into diapause when conditions are unfavorable?
  • Do neonates favor algae and fungus versus living and dying plant parts?