How to Manage Pests
UC Pest Management Guidelines
Slugs have no shell, are slimy and have bodies that are flexible in shape. They move by gliding along on a muscular "foot." This muscle constantly secretes mucus, which later dries to form the silvery slime trail that signals the presence of these pests. Slugs can be found on the plant at night and in the early morning, and under the plastic or other mulch during the day. They are sensitive to dryness, and will seek out moisture, making the humid environment under the mulch of strawberries attractive to them.
The garden slug is larger than the little gray slug. It measures about 1 to 1.5 inch in length and is gray to dark brown in color. Living for about one year, the garden slug is sexually mature in about 3 weeks. This slug is sensitive to cold and many will not survive a cold winter.
The little gray slug measures about 0.5-0.75 inches (12-19 mm) in length and has a mottled gray color. It takes from 3 to 4 months for the little gray slug to reach maturity. This slug is less sensitive to cold than the garden slug and is better able to survive mild winters in high numbers.
Peak egg-laying for both slugs occurs from late September through early November. Most eggs deposited before late October hatch during fall; those deposited in November hatch from late February through spring.
Slugs feed on ripe fruit and produce rough holes that render the fruit unmarketable. These holes may be invaded by a number of secondary pests such as sowbugs, earwigs, and small beetles. Slugs also feed on the leaves of strawberries, and the effects of the rasping feeding are ragged holes in the leaves.
Cleaning up debris in fields to make them less hospitable to slugs can help prevent large numbers from developing. If damaging populations of slugs are present, baits can be applied in nonorganic fields.
Organically Acceptable Methods
UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Strawberry