This problem was the size of "Super-Sharpie," magic marker. It destroyed our family tranquility by laying across my foyer, near the front door. While the mind struggled to absorb this impossible data...a slug inside my house...Sue snapped me out of my funk by declaring, "What are you going to do about it?"
WE DO NOT GET "PRETTY" BANANA SLUGS IN NEW JERSEY. OURS ARE DIFFERENT SHADES OF GREEN OR GRAY...MY HOME INVADER WAS A DEEP FOREST GREEN WITH A DULL, CIRCULAR STRIPING PATTERN.
A slug can grow to eight inches long. They can best be described as a snail without a shell. A threat to gardens, their destructive tendencies include chewing through decorative leaves and boring into fruit. They come out at night and hide in cool dark places during the day. Their tell-tale slime trails may be thin and watery or thick and sticky. However, they are all gross, slimy and squishy.
I HAVE LIVED IN THIS HOUSE FOR 22-YEARS. SLUG SIGHTINGS WERE ALWAYS A RARITY UNTIL THIS SUMMER. NOW OUR GARDEN IS INUNDATED WITH THEM. BACK IN JUNE, SEEING THEM AT NIGHT ON THE GARAGE DOOR OR THEIR SHINY TRAIL ON THE WALKWAY TO THE FRONT DOOR WAS ENTERTAINING. IT SOON BECAME COMMON AND BORING. BUT NOW THE UNTHINKABLE, A GRANDPA-SIZED DEVIL IN THE HOUSE. THAT CAN NOT BE TOLERATED!
The solution was simple...but I had two choices. First, one of my old poker buddies CAL was a tree-hugger. He treated all crawling and flying pests like brothers...well at least like pets. When an unwanted bastard broke through his high-tech security system, (a. k. a., no screens on his windows), he used the "capture and release" method. To some, this idea might seem noble.
I needed a more direct approach to appease my revolted and panic-stricken wife. Her unhappiness was not helped by my little (six-foot-four) son hysterically laughing. That's when I opted for choice two; burial at sea.
I hurried to the recycling bin and tore off a piece of cardboard. I tried to scrape the varmint up but because he (it) was so close to the wall, I had to push it on with my pinkie. I'm not certain which was more important to me, flushing the menace down the toilet or washing the disgusting mucousy wetness off my finger or amputating my whole, defiled hand.
When things calmed down, I told my son that I didn't appreciate that his laughter made a small inconvenience into an emotional experience for his mother. He went into typical teenage deception-mode and said, "Did you know that the, 'BEATLES,' song, 'THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD,' was originally called, 'THE LONG AND WINDING SLUG TRAIL?'"
BEETLES ARE ESPECIALLY NASTY BUGGERS BUT OF ALL THE DIFFERENT VARIETIES, THE DUNG BEETLE IS THE MOST KNOWN AND MOST REPULSIVE.
I told Andrew not to change the subject but he replied, "No really, John Lennon had a fetish for little creeping creatures." I said, "I might have been born at night but it wasn't last night." He said, "I can prove it. The group and many of their songs were inspired by insects. For one thing, for the name of their band, they just changed an 'e' in beetle to an 'a,' to make it more musical." ANDREW IS KNOWLEDGEABLE ON BEATLES TRIVIA BUT I WASN'T FALLING FOR HIS TRICKERY.
I told him that the Beatles name was influenced by 50's rock-n-roller Buddy Holly and his group, "THE CRICKETS." He countered by claiming that if you read between the lines of Lennon's lyrics that , "NORWEGIAN WOOD," has a termite theme, "HELP," is about exterminators and "YELLOW SUBMARINE," symbolizes a yellow jacket infestation.
Sue interrupted the debate and called our discussion nonsense. Then she repeated herself, "What are you going to do about it?" I said, "You saw me flush the plague-ridden pestilence to hell..." She cut me off, "Who cares about one...I don't want to EVER see another one of those ickies in my house again!"
I got on the case immediately. I checked our threshold and I saw that there were no cracks or gaps for these slitherers to squeeze through. I researched several solutions and found out that a slug's natural predators are; ducks, snakes, fireflies and toads. This was a dead-end because we already have a native population of a gazillion toads...that are apparently doing a poor job of thinning-out our great slug herds. Nonetheless, I feel it would be counter-productive to import snakes, fireflies and ducks to do the job.
The computer lists many non-poisonous ways to get rid of slugs. Unfortunately, I don't want to hunt them down and individually toss them into soapy, salt water. There are also slug traps for sale or you can rig your own. Interestingly, one suggested bait was beer. But it still seemed like a lot of work.
Some people place overturned flower pots in their garden. During the day, they pick up the pots and dispose of the slugs who settled there. There are even old wives tales that include spreading pennies in the garden because slugs receive a shock when they come in contact with copper and are repelled from the area.
I hate to admit it, I'm going for the most hands-off solution...poison. First, you need to minimize the mulch and debris where the slugs hide. Then spray the garden and forget about it.
"SLUGGO!" THINK ABOUT IT, HAS A PRODUCT EVER HAD A MORE PERFECT NAME?
Wish me luck. Because if my wife sees another long and winding slug trail in my house, she'll make me eat the Sluggo...and then my son will really have something to laugh about.