Identification and control of pest slugs and snails for broadacre crops in Western Australia

Page last updated: Tuesday, 25 October 2022 - 4:40pm

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Snails are not known to damage seeds, but may damage germinated seeds close to the soil surface. However, slugs, especially black keeled slugs, will feed in the furrows on seeds of legumes. These slugs are not known to feed on ungerminated canola or cereal seeds.

Irregular pieces chewed from leaves and shredded leaf edges are typical of snail and slug presence. Damage to canola and legume crops can be difficult to detect if seedlings are chewed down to the ground during emergence.

Cereal crops are likely to survive damage by slugs and snails, while canola and lupins can not compensate for the damage or loss of cotyledons. If cereals are deep sown into a fine, firm seedbed, the slugs and snails are not able to feed on the growing point and emerging crops may recover from damage after treatment.

Different species of slugs cause differing amounts of damage. Cereals are less likely to sustain damage from reticulated slugs, than from black keeled slugs. Canola crops need careful monitoring to assess plant losses.

Slug damage to canola
Slug damage to canola