Maize Slug Control


Maize, or corn, is the world’s biggest and most important crop, although its uses aren’t limited to human food; it’s an important industrial crop, too. OECD figures put global maize production at 1 billion tonnes in 2016.

Wheat, barley, rye and triticale are other commercially important cereals susceptible to slug damage.

Susceptibility to Slug Damage

Slug damage is especially an issue in low, or no-tillage situations, where soil trash provides both shelter and feeding material.

Loss of yield potential from defoliation can be up to 10%.

Slug damage is generally worse if seedlings emerge at times when slug feeding is intense. For example, warm winters and late plantings may result in an increased slug population.


Species of Concern

The grey field slug, Deroceras reticulatum, is the most common pest of maize crops although both the keeled and round-backed slugs also cause damage.

Symptoms of Attack

Slugs typically attack young seedlings, scraping strips in the leaves to leave a classic ‘window pane’ effect. The attacks may worsen to the degree of leaf stripping, followed by plant loss.


There is no established threshold level for slugs in maize, but monitoring for slugs and eggs – particularly is crop residue and trash is present in the field – can help establish a benchmark population (usually per plant), which can then be observed over time. An increase in the population will assist with decision-making for the application of pellets.

An even distribution is important to ensure slugs come into contact with pellets as soon as possible. Calibrate your equipment carefully.

Cultural Control methods can help reduce the need for slug pellets.


AXCELA® is approved for use on maize in New Zealand.