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Review

A Literature Review of Biological and Bio-Rational Control Strategies for Slugs: Current Research and Future Prospects

1
Crop Health and Protection Limited (CHAP), York Biotech Campus, Sand Hutton, York YO41 1LZ, UK
2
School of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool L3 3AF, UK
3
School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB24 3UU, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Gordon Port and Rory McDonnell
Insects 2021, 12(6), 541; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12060541
Received: 29 April 2021 / Revised: 1 June 2021 / Accepted: 2 June 2021 / Published: 10 June 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biology and Management of Slug and Snail Pests)
Terrestrial molluscs (slugs and snails) pose a major threat to agriculture, causing severe yield losses in a wide range of crops worldwide. The limited number of chemical molluscicides on the market, along with their negative impact on nontarget organisms and the environment, make mollusc control a real concern for growers and farmers. Therefore, the exploration of alternative, effective and eco-friendly control measures has become a dire need. This study focuses on slugs, as opposed to snails, and reviews the literature on three natural enemies of slugs, namely nematodes, carabid beetles and marsh flies, along with various natural products with slug control potential (for example, essential oils), and this study contributes to providing a comprehensive understanding of how slugs can be better controlled by using nonchemical measures. In doing so, this study also draws attention to the limitations of current research and discusses some important future research avenues in order to develop effective nonchemical slug control measures.
Terrestrial gastropod molluscs (slugs and snails) (Mollusca: Gastropoda) cause significant crop damage around the world. There is no formal approach for differentiating between slugs and snails; however, an organism is usually considered a slug when there is no external shell, or when the shell is small in comparison to the body, and a snail when there is a large external shell. Although snails are an important pest of many crops, this review focuses on slug pests and their nonchemical control measures. A recent study by the UK Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board concluded that the failure to control slugs could cost the UK agriculture industry over GBP 100 million annually, with similar figures reported around the world. Whilst slugs are mostly controlled using chemical molluscicide products, some actives have come under scrutiny due to their detrimental environmental effects and impact on nontarget organisms. This has resulted in the ban of actives such as methiocarb in the UK and EU, and, more recently, the ban of metaldehyde in the UK. Therefore, there is an urgent need to find alternative and effective nontoxic solutions in the interest of global food security. In this paper, we have integrated extant literature on the three main biological control agents of slugs, namely nematodes, carabid beetles and sciomyzid flies, and various promising bio-rational slug control strategies. The review also highlights current research gaps and indicates some relevant potential future directions towards developing environmentally benign slug control solutions. View Full-Text
Keywords: biocontrol; bio-rational control; molluscs; slugs; integrated pest management; literature review biocontrol; bio-rational control; molluscs; slugs; integrated pest management; literature review
MDPI and ACS Style

Barua, A.; Williams, C.D.; Ross, J.L. A Literature Review of Biological and Bio-Rational Control Strategies for Slugs: Current Research and Future Prospects. Insects 2021, 12, 541. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12060541

AMA Style

Barua A, Williams CD, Ross JL. A Literature Review of Biological and Bio-Rational Control Strategies for Slugs: Current Research and Future Prospects. Insects. 2021; 12(6):541. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12060541

Chicago/Turabian Style

Barua, Archita, Christopher D. Williams, and Jenna L. Ross 2021. "A Literature Review of Biological and Bio-Rational Control Strategies for Slugs: Current Research and Future Prospects" Insects 12, no. 6: 541. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12060541

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