Comparative Study of Cuban Slugs (Veronicella cubensis) Suppression Using Grazing Ducks, Neem (Azadirachia indica) Extract and Chemical Baits in the CNMI

Project Overview

FW08-305
Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2008: $23,673.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2010
Region: Western
State: Northern Mariana Islands
Principal Investigator:
Alejandro Badilles
Northern Marianas College

Annual Reports

Commodities

  • Vegetables: cabbages, cucurbits, peppers

Practices

  • Animal Production: free-range, manure management
  • Crop Production: windbreaks
  • Education and Training: technical assistance, demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, risk management, whole farm planning
  • Natural Resources/Environment: afforestation, biodiversity, hedges - woody
  • Pest Management: biological control, botanical pesticides, chemical control, cultural control, integrated pest management
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, sustainability measures

    Summary:

    The Cuban slug (Veronicella cubensis) has recently risen in prominence as an agricultural, ornamental and nuisance pest on the island of Rota, CNMI. This study examines and demonstrates the most effective suppressing practice for Cuban slug during testing of three available management practices in field demonstrations. Results showed that three practices at weekly observations: Ducks Feeding on Cuban Slug, Neem (Azadirachta indica) Extract and Slug Pellets (Deadline M-Ps) suppressed the population of Cuban slug. Observations indicated that these practices should be effective at controlling Cuban slug.

    Introduction

    The agricultural industry on Rota, an island within the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, is vulnerable to slugs and snails. Slugs are causing severe crop losses and a false image of the safety of vegetables grown. The high cost of current control measures, such as baiting, is prohibitive, so this Professional + Producer project explored three cost-effective and sustainable control methods for slugs in vegetable crops.

    The first producer used grazing ducks to eat the Cuban Slugs. The ducks also cleared weeds and fertilized the ground. The second producer planted rows of Neem trees to use as windbreaks and for their pesticide properties. These trees are also known for their germicidal and medicinal purposes. The third producer set up modified baiting traps on his farm that are safe and cost effective.

    This project has developed sustainable practices for Rota’s agriculture industry. Increased harvest yields led to decreased imports. Risks from harmful pesticides are reduced.

    Project objectives:

    This project aimed to explore and demonstrate the cost effective, environmentally-friendly and sustainable practices for slug and pest control in vegetable production. Millions of Cuban slugs had infested Rota, and the hardest hit area was Sabana area where the pests feasted on vegetable crops even before they could bloom. The slugs could wipe out an entire seedlings plot overnight. This discouraged the farmers so badly that no one wanted to till the land and plant vegetables anymore.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.