Slugs

Slugs are non-insect pests that damage tender ornamental plants by chewing holes in leaves or flowers. They are especially damaging to hosta leaves and blooms of spring bulbs, but they attack a variety of other ornamental plants as well. Damage appears as long, narrow holes in leaves or ragged holes on edges of leaves and is often accompanied by shiny, dried slime trails. Slugs feed mostly at night or on cloudy days and hide under debris, mulch, or leaf litter during the day. Snails are similar to slugs, but have a shell into which they can retract their body. Most of the native species of snails we have here in the state feed on decaying plant material and rarely cause serious damage to live plants; slugs are much more damaging.

Control Slugs: Baits containing metaldehyde or iron phosphate are quite effective against slugs when used preventively. For example, to best protect hostas from early spring injury it is necessary to begin control in summer and fall of the previous year. Limiting conditions that are favorable to slugs, such as heavy accumulations of mulch or leaf litter, and refuge sites, such as boards or stones, will also help limit slug populations.

See Insect Pests of ornamental plants in the home landscape, page 14 and pages 35-36 for more information on slugs and snails.

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News

Crape myrtle bark scale were found in Mississippi in March. This invasive insect, photographed in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, on March 15, 2015, attacks beautiful and normally low-maintenance crape myrtles. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Insects-Ornamental Plants, Insects-Pests, Landscape Architecture, Trees April 2, 2015

OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. -- A new insect pest found in Mississippi on March 15 could take away the crape myrtle’s status as a beautiful and low-maintenance landscape tree.

Crape myrtle bark scale, or CMBS, is an invasive insect that came to the United States from China. It was first found in Texas in 2004 and has since spread east to Shreveport and Houma, Louisiana; Little Rock, Arkansas; and Germantown, Tennessee. Ocean Springs joined this list when the insect was found on the coast in Jackson County.

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