Published research by OSU slug specialist Dr. Rory McDonnell and collaborators highlights the potential of essential oils for snail and slug control in crop production. The research, published in the Journal of Pest Science in 2016, tested 11 oils and one terpene against the eggs and juveniles of the invasive snail pest Cornu aspersum using a dip method for potted nursery plants. Clove bud oil was found to be the most effective.
McDonnell, who joined the OSU Crop Science Department in 2016, is now leading a series of new experiments with a variety of essential oils to test their effectiveness against slugs. What he and his collaborators learn has the potential to help farms that struggle with slugs, especially certified organic and biological farming systems.
Nick Andrews, Organic Extension Agent with the OSU Small Farms Program, will be working with McDonnell to make sure organic growers learn about the new research and potential new slug control options they may have in the future.