Slugs & Snails of Passiflora

Disease Information

Slugs & Snails

 Symptomsand damage

These pests feed on pansy leaves and blooms at night. In a single night, their feeding can result in large, irregular holes in leaves and flowers. A sign of their presence is the slimy trail of mucus that they leave behind as they move. During the day, they hide under leaf litter, mulch and flower pots where it is moist. Snails and slugs are mollusks and thus related to clams and oysters. Like all mollusks, they must stay moist all the time to survive.

Management

The first step in discouraging slugs and snails is to remove mulch and leaf litter near plants to reduce the moist conditions necessary for their survival. Slugs and snails can be removed by handpicking. The best time to look for them is a few hours after dark using a flashlight. Slug and snail traps can be made by filling shallow containers with beer and placing in a hole in the soil so that the rims are level with the soil. These pests are attracted by the yeasty smell and will fall in and drown. Before putting down the traps, water the area to encourage slug and snail activity that night. Placing a board on the ground, raised about one-inch, is another trap option. It provides a daytime hiding place for these pests that you can then lift to locate and dispose of them.

Protect plants by sprinkling diatomaceous earth around the plants. Diatomaceous earth is very sharp and scratches the skin of these soft-bodied critters, resulting in dehydration and death. It must be reapplied after a rain or watering.

Products containing metaldehyde (3 percent) bait can be used to control snails and slugs in the home garden. However, newer products are available that contain iron phosphate. Iron phosphate will stop feeding by the snails and slugs quickly, and is much less harmful to pets, birds, and non-target insects than metaldehyde. Any unconsumed iron phosphate bait adds nutrients (iron and phosphorus) to the soil.

 



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