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Apr 23, 2009 09:59 PM

white eggs in veg patch soil?

so excited for this new board on chow!! I am on my second year of a new garden and learning lots.

question #1 (of many this year I am sure)

tilled over my soil from the winter and found clumps of white eggs in a couple of my boxes. Finding information that is pointing to snails/slugs, but not consistent. The info says that the eggs of these guys will be clumped with a jelly like substance, these were not, they were together but not in any kind of substrate. they were pearly white, about 3mm. maybe 10-15/clump.

any ideas? I picked out quite a few of them, but there is no way I got them all. what should I be waiting for?

previous year had kale and lettuce in the area, kale did great no signs of any insects. lettuce was in separated bed and did okay, but did suffer from some sort of eating, and there was some slime evidence, it was never enough to worry about treating the problem. I did not think about the idea that whatever might be eating it would lay eggs and they would overwinter in -35c. we did come across the occasional slug and killed them when we did.

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  1. I have no clue, but I suggest that you contact you local state agriculture extension service in your county. Every state has such an organization, even big cities, e.g. Chicago, will have a county office.

    1. Google "picture spider eggs" and see if any of those look familiar.

      I get them in my raised beds every year. Then they hatch. <shudder>
      I'm not fond of sharing my space with them but they eat a lot of bad insects so I try to leave them alone to do their police work.

      16 Replies
      1. re: MakingSense

        thanks for the tip, I actually did this with 'picture slug eggs' and unfortunately this looks like them :( I wish it was spiders! we are going to have our work cut out for us!

        1. re: cleopatra999

          So sad! To make sure, put some of the eggs into a ziplock and take them to a good garden center or the country agricultural extension agent. (Yes, you have one. Your tax dollars even pay for one in the District of Columbia and we don't have any farms!)
          One of those resources should be able to confirm your "diagnosis" and tell you how to get rid of the slugs in the most efficient manner.
          There are now many organic products on the market, even by the large companies like Ortho and Scott's, in response to consumer demand for organics in home gardens. Make sure that they are safe for use around food crops. Make DOUBLE sure.

          Although many garden insects are beneficial, I don't think that I have ever heard a kind word about slugs.
          I place small pieces of rotten 1 x 4 around my garden to attract them. Sort of like slug resorts. They flock to those rather than my plants. Then I flip the boards over into a pail of water and drown them every couple of days.

          1. re: cleopatra999

            You're not gonna wanna hear this... but... there is no non toxic way to get rid of those eggs either (aside from sifting thru the soil and plucking them out).. Some people try vinegar or ammonia, but it does not work. Hopefully the eggs are few and it was an isolated thing. Copper wire may work around your beds to keep the slugs and their evil egg laying habits out of the garden. I am an incessant slug picker.

            1. re: Sal Vanilla

              I wish I could say that there are not many, there were a ton! we picked alot of them out of one of the beds but not the other. I did know that there was no way to get rid of them. we turned our soil over a week ago, since then we have had a few nights get down to -10C, I am hoping that this might have disturbed them enough and brought them up to the surface enough that they may not have survived some of that cold weather. trapping and killing or using copper, seem to be the best solutions.

              PS, I am in canada, so I am not sure about an agriculture extension agent.

              1. re: Sal Vanilla

                I used to have a plague of slugs, but had some great success with putting shallow dishes of beer in the garden, sunken to the rim. Slugs seem to love the beer, fall in and drown. It's a disgusting upkeep to be sure, but it seemed to solve my slug problem. I've had some friends recommend diatomaceous earth as well, which doesn't seem to be toxic. Am I wrong on that?


                1. re: cayjohan

                  No, that is not in the least toxic and it is a fab idea! I wonder if it will suck up the egg goo and kill off slug eggs - before they become creepy crawlers...

                  I wonder if that is what the safe slug killer is make of.

                  In any case, exposing those eggs to cold night air may well kill off some of those eggs.

                    1. re: cleopatra999


                      Never tried it, as beer worked for me, but it sounds like a good option.


                      1. re: cayjohan

                        wiki had not info on it, but found it in another website.

                        my only concern would be that it is non-specific, it would kill my beneficial insects too. I will definitely look into it further if need be.

                        i think that beer is the way to go. and of course crop rotation.

                        1. re: cleopatra999

                          I've used diatomaceous earth in my garden in the past It is a natural product made from fossilized plants. It is fed to animals to get rid of intestinal parasites and has many uses in and around the home. It is very effective on mature snails but I do not think it would be useful on the eggs. I was reminded of ant eggs when I read your OP. If your infestation is ants thst's just an annoyance, not a threat....Rake the area and puul the eggs as you have done. Practice crop rotation even though your garden beds are on the small size... in other words, do not plant vegetables in the same family in the same place each year.

                          1. re: cleopatra999

                            Hey Cleopatra -

                            Coincidentally I was seeking some chicken help on another site and the topic of diatomaceous earth came up. Apparently there are different grades of diatomaceous earth - food grade and non food grade.

                            It might be a good idea (if you are feeling energentic) to spread on/ dig in some of that to your garden. It my not kill off the eggs, but once they are hatched and looking for food, you may be able to cut them off at the pass. It will kill them and turn them into worm food! Apply it with a mask on a non windy day.

                            I am going to do it - but just because I will have it. I may do it in some flower beds where I have some serious problems (depending on how expensive it is). OK I just looked it up. Expensive. I think flowers will get regular diatomaceous earth. So thank you to the original person who brought up the idea of using it!

                    2. re: cayjohan

                      In my endless war on slugs, I've tried the beer method (which works, and is also disgusting) and diatomaceous earth (which sort of works, since it must be faithfully replenished after every rain) and copper wire (which doesn't work at all - maybe I'm doing it wrong). My plan for this year is crunched up eggshells around the plants, described elsewhere on this board:


                      1. re: small h

                        I am thinking of not planting in this area of my beds (I have some left over space anyway, and this is quite a shaded area, not a lot of options to go there, so rotation gets tough) then doing a 'defense' line of egg shells to keep them away from the other plants. hopefully this will work!

                        My beds are not exactly raised, but they are slightly (couple inches) higher than the cedar mulch around them. potentially silly question....will the slugs crawl out of the beds across the mulch to my other beds?? and if I don't plant anything here this time, essentially removing their food supply will I be getting rid of them for next year? I should probably still use the trap & destroy beer/pie plate method too I suspect.

                        1. re: cleopatra999

                          Is it possible that the wooden walls of the bed itself are what is attracting the slugs?
                          Shade + the cedar mulch against much of the wood on one side + soil on the other side = pretty damp wood. Slugs love damp wood and they may be congregating there because that's a favorable environment for them.
                          If I leave pieces of wood lying in the garden, it gets damp, and slugs and pill bugs gather under it like a resort for slugs and bugs.

                          Try pulling the mulch back from the wood to dry it out. See if that helps.
                          The slugs never bother my marigolds or onions. Stick some in that bed. They won't be beautiful because of the shade but it might be a way to use that bed.

                          1. re: MakingSense

                            Very good thoughts and suggestions.

                            I have found that slugs severely resent traveling over rock. Our raised beds are surrounded by rock the size they use for drainage (I think that is the term) - it is 3/8ths inch crushed clean (which needs to be recleaned before laying). I have seen only stray slugs which I may have brought in with soil or compost amendments.

                            1. re: Sal Vanilla

                              went back out and dug through the affected beds....hardly found any eggs at all :) looks like they did not appreciate being disturbed and frozen! Yay! unfortunately I did find more in a different area, but still not as bad. I will still put out traps and be careful what I plant there.

                              i think eventually we may change our walkways between our beds to gravel instead of cedar mulch on landscape paper on soil. but for now that is not an option.