What's eating my plants? (I suspect slugs)

This outdoor plant looked fine yesterday. This morning its got leaves that look chewed on and those dark clumps along the main stem. Also a weird slimy substance near the base of some leaves at the top.

Is this from caterpillers? Slugs? (UPDATE: I suspect slugs.

I don’t see any, or anything else on the plant. My wife had moved another potted vegetable plant next to this one yesterday. I moved it farther away last night and see a slug in that pot this morning.

I’m thinking of picking up some Captain Jack’s Deadbug (Spinosad) spray and spraying down this plant + the two (currently unaffected) next to it, just to be safe. Any other suggestions?


First----get some small stakes and pipe cleaners to support the spindly plant.
Second----can’t tell from pics. But, caterpillars stay in one place and eat smoothly and then poop small black balls. Cutter bees will take chunks from different places. Somewhat like the horseshoe shape on the bottom of the last pic. Plenty of sprays for either.
Caterpillars have really short legs and can’t run fast or far. So, usually easy to find and squish.


@Bp I’d 7dust. I’ve dusted with good results. Some people do not like the ingredients in it but your plants are young and should do well. I’ve coated mine like powdered sugar and no ill effects. It’ll wash through the system. Just my opinion. Good luck. The sooner the better.

@Bp if you still have caterpillar problems after you can spray with safe brand caterpillar killer. Then every week spray with neem oil.

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I think it’s slugs eating the plant, for several reasons:

  1. Happens at night (I check the plants frequently throughout the daytime hours)
  2. Jagged edges around the eaten parts
  3. Slime next to some eaten parts
  4. I saw a slug in my wife’s veggie pot that was next to the affected plant

I bought some Sluggo and applied it per the manual to the surface of the pot the day that I first noticed the damage. I also placed a shredded copper scrub pad around the stem of each of my plants, as an added barrier.

Didn’t notice any additional damage the next morning, but this morning, it looks like they’re back at it and have taken a bite out of most of the leaves on that same plant.

The Sluggo says it can take up to 7 days to kill the slugs, but that as soon as the slugs eat it, they’ll stop eating the plants and will crawl off to die somewhere else.

I’ve got some of this Slug Killer arriving today and will apply it too.

I Removed above link sorry BP

Crushed up egg shells around the base of the plant help, if you eat enough eggs. Diatomaceous Earth around the base would probably do the trick, too. Consider that it might be something like Japanese Beetles