For a gardener, the most precious thing is that their plants, fruits, and vegetables stay healthy, but one thing that can make this difficult is pests. Slugs are one of the most despised pests that eat nearly everything. But do slugs eat beetroot?
Yes, slugs eat beetroot leaves, which can cause devastating damage, especially to newly growing plants.
Slugs are some of the most annoying pests that greatly damage root plants. Slugs are opportunistic pests that eat almost anything but often target root plants.
Slugs love eating beetroot leaves and can cause major damage to young plants that have just started growing before they have had a chance to establish themselves.
The damage can be drastic and disappointing whenever you harvest beetroots that have fallen to slugs.
One way some gardeners deal with slugs is by planting lots of beetroots, so there are a lot for the slugs to damage, and only a couple get eaten by the slugs; this way, you will still have some beetroots that are healthy and haven’t been affected by slugs.
This is a risky approach to take, though!
Slugs also damage the roots of the beetroots, and you can only find this when harvest time comes. Damaged roots can be very disappointing, and to avoid this, you must first take care of your slug infestation.
Do Slugs Eat Beetroot Leaves?
Slugs mainly eat the leaves of the beetroot, which can cause a lot of damage to newly grown plants.
You can detect if a slug is damaging your beetroots by checking if there are slime trails or oddly shaped holes, as these are always the signs of slugs eating your beetroot leaves.
Slugs leave a trail of slime wherever they go. If there’s a slime trail on your beetroot plants, the culprit behind the damage to the plant is a slug (or snail).
Yes, slugs will demolish beetroot seedlings before they have had a chance to establish themselves. If a slug eats a beetroot seedling, it will not be able to recover.
Do Slugs Eat Beetroot in the Ground?
Slugs love eating root plants like beetroots. They often prefer these over any other type of plants in a garden and will specifically target these for their meal. Slugs love eating the leaves of the beetroot plant but will also chew on its roots in the ground.
You can notice the damage to the leaves as they will have very odd holes and a slime trail as slugs and snails tend to leave behind wherever they go. The damage isn’t visible to the roots until you pull out the whole beetroot from the ground.
Slugs can cause major damage to the beetroots, their leaves, and their roots, often ruining the whole plant.
There are certain ways you can get rid of slugs from your garden, such as by using pellets (although we advise against this), beer traps, or adding nematodes to the soil, which are tiny parasitic worms that are naturally found in the soil.
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Can You Eat Beetroot with Slug Damage?
You can’t eat beetroot that slugs have damaged because slugs carry many dangerous parasites. These parasites, such as the rat lungworm, can cause severe infections.
Slugs also have several germs and bacteria that cause diseases like eosinophilic meningitis and angiostrongyliasis.
Ensure that you check if the beetroot you’re eating doesn’t have any slime trails or oddly shaped holes. If it does, then a slug has eaten that beetroot and could now be contaminated.
Beetroot, or any vegetable that slugs have eaten, is inedible because slugs have many parasites. Rat lungworm is one of the parasites often picked up by slugs when feeding on rat faeces. Nice, right!?
If you eat a beetroot that a slug has eaten, the parasite will enter your intestines wall and go to your circulatory system. The larva then moves into the central nervous system. After entering the central nervous system, the larvae will mature and reproduce.
Sounds dramatic! But it has been lethal. An Australian teenager died back in 2018 after eating an infected slug. You can read about it on CNN.
Angiostrongyliasis is another disease caused by parasitic infections through a slug contaminated with beetroot or any other vegetable. It can disturb a normal working body’s functions and majorly affect the brain.
Although rare, slugs have killed humans in the past because they can be infected with rat lungworms. This is why eating slugs is not a good idea!
To any gardener, their precious leafy greens are some of their most important possessions.
Every gardener wants their plants to be healthy, but pests can be a major problem. Slugs are some of the worst pests and are especially bad for growing root plants. Slugs love eating vegetable plants, and beetroots are some of their favourites.
A slug will eat beetroots, mainly the leaves and roots, while damaging the young plants.
A beetroot that slugs have eaten has holes in its leaves and slime trails on it; it also can’t be eaten by you anymore because slugs have many parasites and transfer them to anything they eat.
Ryan is a keen gardener from the UK who’s spent years dealing with countless, common pests over the years so knows the ins and outs of how to deal with pests in the garden