The big hunt for Killer Slugs!

What are my neighbours doing? Every night at dusk in late springs and early summer my neighbours starts to act in a strange way; they walk around in their gardens with flashlights! And they walk around seemingly without any goal at all! Sometimes the light points stops, just to soon start moving again. Back and forth! It looks like they are poking around in the garden, but why are they doing it in darkness? Isn’t it better to enjoy the garden in daylight?

Imagine the following scenery;

We have lived in this house in only two years and before this we lived in absolute solitude with just the forest as company for twenty years. So moving to a community was quite exiting and also felt a bit odd at the beginning. Living in solitude does that to you. After many years people gets a bit scary and it takes a little time to get use to life in a community with people everywhere around you.

We now live in a small community with perfectly ordinary Swedish citizens. Every family live in small or bigger houses with typical small gardens enclosed by fences of different designs. Their new Volvo or their new Saab stands in front of the houses on the appropriate place. The gardens are mostly well kept with nice green lawns and a few flower beds and shrubs here and there. The people that live in the houses are also typical and basically do the same things; they work 5 days a week, drive their kids to school or Pre School, they take their car to the mall on Friday and they celebrate the very short weekend on Saturday and Sunday with good food and maybe some drinks on Saturday. After the first winter here, when I a bit curious did observed them all during the winter, I knew I could safely relax and mind my one business because none of them stands out or do anything extraordinary. I also know that it is only how it looks at the outside, it is a façade and on the inside live totally normal human being that is living, crying, laughing, loving, hating, drinking, gambling and all things that perfectly normal people do. But that is on the inside, on the outside all looks perfectly normal and in excellent order.

So I must say that the first summer here we did wonder what they all was doing, suddenly breaking their routine, poking around in their gardens with flash light in the dark.

When living in a community it looks a bit peculiar to see thecircles from all flashlights hopping around in every garden around us. It looks like something from science fiction or one can also think that some extra-terrestrials have invaded the neighbourhood. But no, it is neither aliens nor a game; it is the “big hunt” on the Killer slugs!

Since our former house was situated high up on the top of a mountain we where not use to slugs because they couldn’t survive in that climate zone.

But here; they can survive and they also thrive and appear in masses! They are a species that have become an invasive alien specie in Sweden. And the slug is called: The killer slug!

A charming pink house!
A charming pink house!

My nearest neighbour is a dear old lady living in an absolutely gorgeous little pink house with white trim and ornate decorative carving. She did enlightened me about this issue one day without leaving out any details. She told me that I had to start hunting for the slugs immediately, and she was so glad that we had moved in since the former owner didn’t bother to take care of the slugs on our property at all! For many years she had been forced to wait for them when the slugs moved from our garden too her garden before she could pick them up and she said that they all came from our garden. So, now she was very pleased, because she had noticed that we where people that took good care of our garden. And before I have had a chance to open my mouth this dear old lady carried on saying;

- And since you have such a big garbage bin, I was wondering if I could throw my slugs in your garbage bin!

Before thinking I said reassuring; of course you can! It is no trouble at all!

Somehow I instantly felt that it was right since she had taken care of “our” slugs for so long!!! (Even if we just moved in).

But then I didn’t know the extent or the consequences.

So now, this dear sweet old lady with curlers in her newly washed hair covered with a scarf of chiffon goes on hunting for slugs. And she is so good at it! She picks them in small plastic bags and throws them in our garbage bin! Every morning and every night a new plastic bag find its way into our garbage bin! And every time I open the lid to OUR garbage bin I see those disgusting plastic bags with sludge of both living and dead killer slugs desperately trying to get out of their unwanted prison! My dear old neighbour is also very frugal so she uses second-hand small transparent plastic bags that previously contained bread and other foods. And for your information I must add that the killer slugs are killer slugs in more than one way; they eat everything, even each other! So we have free vision to this massacre going on in our garbage bin.

The bigger garbage bin looks quite normal on the outside but not on the inside!
The bigger garbage bin looks quite normal on the outside but not on the inside!

Sometimes I think that it is the same with our garbage bin as it is with this community: our bin looks like a plain common garbage bin on the outside, painted in green, always standing on the same place and reveals not a shred of what goes on inside. But on the inside its total chaos, those slimy slugs mate with each other indiscriminately, and they feed on their dead friends without any hesitation in a never ever unprecedented scale. That is because not even these killer slugs are made or used to live under these conditions. They are used to mate and live in free nature and eat what ever comes in their way. They eat their dead friends in the wild too like the scavengers they are. But they are not used to live in a transparent plastic bad in a waste container!

The only comfort is that since she and my other neighbours are so persistent the amount of killer slugs is declining later in the summer when the real summer heat sets in. Otherwise it would become even grouser conditions.

Do you want to know what I do with the killer slugs in my garden? I try (without so much luck I have to say) to beat my neighbour to it and get the slimy creatures before she does and I simply shop their head off without showing any mercy with my sharpest shovel and just let them be on the spot, and let nature take care of the rest.

But I still refuse to join my neighbours in their light dance in the evenings. I observe them from inside our house or sitting on our terrace trying to calculate how many new slugs my waste container will contain the following morning and when the bin is supposed to be emptied the next time.

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Comments 9 comments

A.A. Zavala profile image

A.A. Zavala 5 years ago from Texas

Is this a Swedish tradition?


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

A.A. Zavala, I think maybe it will be a tradition since the slug spreads rapidly:) And after me telling about our dance traditions at midsummer Eve I can understand your question! It looks quite funny to see all these people armed with plastic bags, barbecue tongs, pruning knifes, scissors, shovels or whatever weapon they use. But I must say that I prefer the old traditions better:) In fact I hope we will get rid of this invasive slug but I am afraid that there isn't any hope of that happening any longer. They are too many!

As alway a great comment from you! Nice to see you!

Tina


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 5 years ago from Sunny Florida

What a sight that must be, seeing you neighbors out there hunting. Sorry to hear about the infestation. I hope it does become easier. That sweet old lady I gues really wasn't so sweet.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi KoffeeKlatch, Yes it looks quite funny and especially if you don't know what they are doing:) We must adapt to many new things in life and go along whit what ever changes that occurs, this is one of them a guess. It is one new thing a gardener must know and do if we want a garden.

And my neighbor, in fact, she really is an old sweet lady! But she has a mind of her own and that nice manner of hers makes it impossible to say no when she asks for something. But she really is the best neighbour anyone could wish for and she is also a kind of old lady that I want to be when I reach her age! Another proof that it is easier to get what you want if you are nice:) If she was a rued or an angry lady I wouldn't have accepted it. Now I just admit that she outsmarted me and I live with it!

Thanks for your compassionate comment Koffee, your visits are so appreciated by me!

Tina


Victoria Stephens profile image

Victoria Stephens 5 years ago from London

Hi thougtforce,

I don't know who to feel sorry for the most, the slugs or you and the old lady! :-)

I'm quite lucky in the sense that I don't get too many slugs although I expect I'll see more now that I have a vegetable area growing. I too will be drawing the line at hunting for them in the dark.

Nice write up, picturing the scenery made me chuckle.xxx


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Victoria! Yes it is a bit sad, but I can´t help thinking it is very funny too:) Imagine what slugs can make people do! But I guess it is worst for the slugs:) My neighbor has now moved to her summerhouse for the summer so now it is all up to me! And my garbage bin can rest for a while.

Oh, they love vegetables so you better keep after them. I am happy to say that because of hot and dry weather here the attacks from slugs have decreased a bit lately and they don't l appear in such masses either.. But after every little rain they crawl out and can bee seen everywhere so they are still out there, lurking... and waiting for a more humid weather.

It is great to see you Victoria and I am glad to make you smiling, it is a funny sight seeing all the people out in the dark hunting for slugs:) Thanks for stopping by.

Tina


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

I have always heard a bowl or like round pie pan with beer would draw them and drown them. Nothing nastier than a slug, and ew you can't wash that sticky away! Maybe they would make a good glue?


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Jackie Lynnley, yes a bear-trap is a good way to trap slugs!

Slugs are quite disgusting and I never get used to their slimy appearance. I have heard people talked about ways to use them, some thought slugs would be good to use as oil. And maybe glue too, but I haven't heard of anyone succeeded yet. I guess they are just one part of nature we can´t use:) Thanks for coming by and leaving a comment. Your visit is so appreciated!

Tina


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

You are very welcome. My pleasure.

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