Slugs are difficult to sample, not only because of their small size, but because they are active in low light conditions, like cloudy days and at night. 

One thing that you can do is move the residue around to find the slugs and to look for the slime of their trails where they have moved. The dried slime will shine in the sun.

The best management action to reduce slugs is to till. If you’re producing under no-till, slugs are probably not going to change your tillage practices. Basically the more trash you can clean away from the seedlings, the fewer problems you will have. Consider strip-till. 

Less drastic steps are focusing on good residue removal with the row sweepers and using starter fertilizer.

The only known remedial measure for slugs, besides waiting for warmer and dryer weather, is to use Deadline M-Ps (AMVAC), Orcal Slug Bait and Snail Bait (Orcal).  These must be put out with a spreader and are relatively expensive. 

Furthermore, although this product will likely be labeled for 2013, supplies are short due to re-registration. If you might use one of these products this year, you’ll want to pick up what you can now.

Three-cornered alfalfa hoppers feed on seedlings and are generally discovered after the fact, when plants lodge later in the season. Seed treatments and foliar pyrethroid sprays can effectively manage these insects. 

The problem is that it takes EXTREMELY high densities to impact yield. So your money is wasted 99.9 percent of the time targeting a seed treatment for these critters. See this previous blog post for more information and this website for the threshold. In short, if you’ve had a problem with these in the past, do not waste your money with a seed treatment. Scout your beans and treat if you need to.

Finally, lesser cornstalk borer can give us problems, especially in late-planted soybeans, on droughty soils, and/or during hot and dry periods. Unfortunately we do not know of any remedial control measure (including pesticides) that is effective for this insect.

This previous blog post contains information concerning varieties that are more of less resistant to this insect.

For more from North Carolina research and Extension, visit


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