Capable of causing severe quality and yield issues feeding on plant tissues above and below the surface. Can eat half its body weight in a day. Control with beneficial nematodes.

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  • Has brown/black elongated body and, depending on species, is 30-150mm long
  • Shell-less gastropod mollusks, it leaves behind a slimy trail
  • Has 2 pairs of tentacles and saddle-shaped mantel on its back
  • Mostly feed at night
  • At any time, 90% of population is underground
  • Species include brown slug Derocerus laeve, grey field slug Derocerus reticulatum and garden slug Arion hortensis

Life cycle

  • Most species are hermaphrodite – have both male and female genitals
  • After mating lay 15-50 eggs, 3 times a year, in the soil or under plant waste
  • Under favourable conditions, eggs hatch immediately
  • Slugs need humid environment to survive, reproduce and move around in
  • Can survive for a long time under unfavourable conditions

Damage caused

  • Feeding on plant tissue, slugs can eat half their body weight within 24 hours
  • Damage most severed in optimal warm and humid conditions
  • Young crops – hollow out seeds, strip leaves and feed on roots / cotyledons
  • Older crops – damage flowers, tubers and roots - impacting quality
  • Damage can allow several plant diseases to enter
  • In flower and salad crops, mucous secretions impact quality


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