Slugs can be a serious pest in no-till soybean and, in a lesser degree, corn crops. A neonicotinoid insecticide is used on the seeds which is then also in the plant. This practice is increasing the population of the slugs and decreasing the population of the beetle that keeps the slugs in check.
The slugs chew on the leaves of the soybean or corn plant but are unaffected by the insecticide because slugs are mollusks, not insects. Ground beetles actually protect the plants by preying upon the slugs.
In a study conducted by The USDA’s Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension program, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, and the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board, scientists discovered that sixty percent of the ground beetles that ate the slugs died or were weakened from the insecticide from the poisoned slugs while the slug population increased. Crop yields were reduced by five percent.
Author Marilyn Pokorney
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Copyright Marilyn Pokorney 2017