Slugs munching their way across Ohio

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LANCASTER, Ohio – According to OSU state entomology specialists Ron Hammond and Bruce Eisley, reports of slug feeding are being received from various parts of Ohio.
“Our sampling indicates that juvenile gray garden slugs, the species causing most problems in Ohio, have reached sufficient size to cause noticeable feeding in central Ohio (Fairfield County), and are within a few days of feeding in more northern locations (Knox and Wayne counties),” said the specialists.
Two week warning. Sampling in northeast Ohio and northwest Pennsylvania indicate that gray garden slugs have just started hatching and are within a one to two weeks of beginning their heavier feeding.
For comparison, juvenile slugs in Fairfield County are averaging 30 mg. in size, those in Knox County are averaging 21 mg., in Wayne County 10 mg., while those in northeast Ohio are averaging 6 mg.
We are still observing numerous eggs that have not yet hatched in all locations, they added.
In addition to the eggs and juveniles of gray garden slugs, the experts are also seeing more banded slugs and dusky slugs than in recent years. These slugs can add to the early defoliation they are seeing.
Northeast Ohio and Pa. “We expect the incidence of slug problems to increase over the next one to three weeks, with greater problems occurring shortly in southern locations following a northward trend to northeast Ohio and northwestern Pennsylvania, where the most serious problems are probably a week or so in the future,” they said.
The increase in problems will be partially attributed to the poor crop growing conditions because of the lower temperatures, along with the replanting of numerous fields.
These replanted crops will be germinating and emerging at the same time the juvenile slugs begin their heavier feeding.
Start looking. Growers with a previous history of slug problems should begin monitoring the situation closely in their fields. They should be aware that although severe feeding might not be occurring now, significant feeding may begin within a short time.
When significant feeding is occurring, the only remedy is to apply a molluscicide such as Deadline MPs, or one of the new materials if available, Orcal Snail and Slug Bait or Metarex.

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