Comparative Study of Cuban Slugs (Veronicella cubensis) Suppression Using Grazing Ducks, Neem (Azadirachia indica) Extract and Chemical Baits in the CNMI
The Cuban slug (Veronicella cubensis) has recently risen in prominence as an agricultural, ornamental and nuisance pest on the island of Rota, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI). This study examines and demonstrates the most effective suppressing practice to V. cubensis during testing of three available management practices in field demonstrations. Initial result showed that the three practices at weekly observations: Using Ducks Feeding on Cuban Slug, Neem (Azadirachta indica) Extract and Using Slug Pellets (Deadline M-Ps) caused significantly effective in suppressing the population of Cuban slug that penetrate in the treated area were crops are planted. The initial results of the field trials indicate that Using ducks feeding on Cuban slug, Neem extract and Slug pellets should be effective at controlling Veronicella cubensis.
Studies were conducted during November 2009 in Rota, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. All the three trials were conducted simultaneously in three different production areas. Fifty ducklings ware purchased at the University of Guam through Dr. Manny Duguies. Deadline M-Ps (Trademark) (EPA Reg. No. 64864-38), Chemical Family: Metaldehyde. Neem seedlings were collected on Sam Palacios Farm in Tinian Island. Certified head cabbage seeds (Japanese variety) needed for the project was purchased at Ace Hardware locally as well as brooding supplies, commercial feeds, fertilizers, sprayers, pellets spreader and blender. Chicken wire was used instead of screen cloth to confine ducks in an open field.
Cuban slug mortalities were collected and counted from the trials treated with Deadline M-Ps on a weekly basis. Figure 1 shows the weekly count recorded during the field trial for three selected practices.
Using Ducks Feeding On Cuban Slugs
Lead producer Mr. Jack Manglona was responsible for operating the 38 ducklings’ parent stock, (brooding, growing to laying stage). The producer was responsible for feeding, train ducks to feed on collected Cuban slugs, maintain and sustain the parent stock. The location chosen for the study was characteristic of natural conditions where the producer normally has to treat abundant populations of V. cubensis. Four treatment plots with 3ft. X 40ft. area, and 3ft. apart covered with weed blocker within the ducks confinement 3 feet wide fenced with chicken wire in the perimeter. Plots were planted with head cabbage seedling and treated weekly with Deadline M-Ps. Weekly monitoring of dead individuals were counted, recorded, removed from the experimental arena and discarded immediately.
Using Slug Pellets (Deadline M-Ps)
The test that will demonstrate the efficacy in the field through the ability of the formulation; Deadline M-Ps to withstand breakdown of pellet due to rainfall, effectiveness, safeness and sustainability of baiting slug was conducted at Nurul Islam Paeda in Sabana Area. This area has an abundant population of Cuban slugs due to its topography and farming activity. Four treatment plots
3 ft. X 40ft. and 3ft. apart covered with weed blocker within the perimeter of surrounding slug baiting stations using wooden pallets with tin covers laid 5ft. apart. Plots were planted with head cabbage and tomatoes and treated weekly with Deadline M-Ps. Baiting stations were treated with Deadline M-Ps weekly and replenishment was being done as needed. Weekly monitoring by treating the plots with Deadline M-Ps, dead individuals were counted, recorded, removed from the experimental arena and discarded immediately.
Using Neem Extract
Brian Richards’s farm in Santa Cruz, Rota was established as a source of Neem as organic pesticide for slug. Neem was planted in one row in the perimeter 10 ft. apart designed for windbreak and soil erosion control. Treatment plots were also established similar to both practices. Treatment of the perimeter 3 ft. wide was done from the dilution of 1 liter of Neem leaf extract with 9 liters of water. Add 100ml of soap. Stir well and sprayed evenly to repel slug (Prakash; Rao, 1997: pp. 35-103) from intrusion in the plots with crops. Weekly monitoring by treating the plots with Deadline M-Ps, dead individuals were counted, recorded, removed from the experimental arena and discarded immediately.
- Modified Cuban Slugs Baiting Stations Made of Recycled Wooden Pallet and Tin Covers
- Treatment of Baiting Stations with Deadline MPs
- Data Collection of Cuban Slug Mortality in the Treated Area
- Neem Tree Seedling Planted as Windbreak and Soil Erosion Control
- Predatory ducks along the perimeter of the experimental arena
- slug busters
- Neem Trees as a Source of an Alternative Organic Pesticide
- Experimental Treatment Arena using Neem Extract Against Cuban Slugs
- Ducks feeding on cuban slugs
Results and Discussion
Mortality to Cuban slug was highest average recorded in the first week of treatments, and it did not cause significantly more mortality than in the following weeks of monitoring. Figure 1 shows the weekly average mortality. The preliminary results of the three practices in field trials indicate that any of this practice should be effective at controlling Cuban slugs. However, further monitoring of these trials is on-going until the project is completed by November.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
The initial results of the field trials indicate that using ducks feeding on Cuban slug, Neem extract and Slug pellets should be effective at controlling Veronicella cubensis.
Creating habitat that encourages predators such as ducks, chickens, and other birds is the most interesting part of this study.
Encouraging natural predators is a good part of any slug or pest control plan. Unmarketable vegetables and fruits as duck feeds also attracted and provided a trap allowing more slugs for ducks as a successful predator program in a growing area; chemical pesticides should be avoided.
The producer Mr. Jack Manglona was happy and impressed by this ongoing project on his farm. His serious Cuban slug infestation has come to an end and found a sustainable solution. He is currently expanding his poultry production integrating with his duck project. He saw a big potential in this venture such as: more savings for pesticides for controlling slugs, healthy environment, more meat, egg and egg by-product to sell.
There were more that twenty-five farmers on Rota Island, who have adopted this duck project and keep increasing in number after gaining knowledge of this project. There was also an increase in the marketing of ducklings being sold by our suppliers from the neighboring islands.
A PowerPoint presentation entitled: “Suppression to Cuban Slug (Veronicella cubensis) (Pfieffer)
Using Select Practices (On-going)” was conducted in Saipan for Western SARE Workshop: Sustainable Agriculture Projects in the Western Pacific, Saipan World Resort,
January 26-29, 2010.
Testimonials from one of the participants from the workshop:
Lolita Ragus <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Using Cuban Slugs as Feeds to Ducks
Date: Thu, 11 Feb 2010 21:19:02 -0800 (PST)
To: Alejandro Badilles <email@example.com>
Nice to hear from you again. Rogel and I are pleased to meet you at that Saipan Conference last Jan 25-29.
Regarding your WSARE project about controlling Cuban slugs, we are impressed of the innovative approach you have developed for Rota and later on for the entire Micronesia. These slugs are really stubborn pests because they are nocturnal and difficult to detect at day time. Using these slugs as feeds to ducks has a high probability of success in transferring to other locations. Why? The project is technically feasible, environmentally friendly, economically sound as low-cost feeds and acceptable to the community as evidenced by having an influential farmer-cooperator from Rota. Keep up the good work.
Lolita N. Ragus, Researcher
COM-FSM Chuuk Campus
Cooperative Research and Extension
Weno, Chuuk FSM 96942.
We sincerely thank the producers that allowed us access to their property to conduct the field trials. We greatly appreciate the financial support provided by the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (WSARE), and especially to the WSARE Administrative Council members for recognizing the need for this project.
PO Box 597, Rota, MP 96951 USA
Rota, MP 96951
Office Phone: 6705323401
P.O. Box 1069
Rota, MP 96951
Office Phone: 6705320990
PO Box 842
Rota, MP 96951
Office Phone: 6705323335