Green veggie leaves being eaten

Asked May 29, 2020, 3:06 PM EDT

Hi there, Hoping you can help me figure out what is eating the green veggie leaves in my garden. The feed store worker said slugs wouldn’t really eat pepper leaves, but my pepper plant was stripped down and all leaves were eaten. Radish greens kale, tomato leaves on the ground, peppers, chard, and bean leaves are all being eaten. Any idea what could be eating all of these things? I did catch about 10 tiny slugs. I assume they are slugs, some were tan and really small. Thanks for your help! Alicia

Multnomah County Oregon

4 Responses

Thank you for your question, Alicia. I apologize for no one getting back to you. We're swamped! Unfortunately, there are over 2 dozen insects that feed on these vegetables. Most of them are able to chew, and they leave notches and holes; others are able to pierce the leaves and suck out the carbohydrates. The latter create yellow leaves; some turn up or down as the insect wraps itself in the leaf;

Assuming you have any plants remaining, you'll need to do some investigation to look for symptoms in addition to the leaf and plant damage. Here is a list of the possibilities: If you have slugs, applying a pesticide for them that is approved for use among edible plants will help. In the case of most of the other pests, monitoring for eggs and larvae is necessary so we can see something about their species. Sorry I can't be more helpful. Good luck!

Hi Alicia,
Do you have photos of the slugs that you found? If so I might be able to identify them for you and add to Kristena's message.
Best wishes

Hello, thanks for responding. I do have a few photos of the bugs we’ve found.

Hi Alicia,
Thank you for the photos. The cream colored slug in the first photo is a juvenile gray field slug (Deroceras reticulatum) and the darker colored slug in the second image is most likely Deroceras invadens. If you want to try and control these slugs I suggest you use an iron phosphate based bait e.g. Ferroxx AQ. If you can't find this specific bait in your local garden center then ask the sales assistant for another iron phosphate based bait. These baits are safe for use in organic systems and are not toxic to humans or other animals.