By , May 5, 2017

On Tuesday, I shut down my birch tap for the season. As I removed the tap jug from the spile, I got a nasty surprise: on the far side of the jug, I found a small, black slug stretched out to about 2 inches long.

slug killed by salt

The salt shaker, and the damage done: all that’s left of the slug (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

Most of our food comes from our garden, so we, like most gardeners, hate slugs. Luckily for us, this side of our peninsula has very few of them. We have some small snails, instead; they seem to do their share of damage, but not nearly as bad as slugs.

For years, we’ve carefully guarded against slug infestation, cleaning the roots of any plants we bring over the ridge, picking slugs off our boats and dropping them in the salt water before coming around the point (they’re very much at home on Mud Bay). We’ve done so well that this new discovery caused quite a stir.

It’s not just that there’s a slug here. We’re confused and worried by where I found it. I don’t know which would be worse, finding one in our garden beds, or, as I did, finding it about six feet up a tree in the forest above the homestead compound! Appearing up there indicates they may be all over in the forest at this point.

What’s worse, we don’t know if this is the invasive black slug that gardener friends in town talk about, or something local. I suspect this one was something different, but we have little to go on. All we can do is step up our vigilance, and hope that our friends and allies, the resident boreal toads, like the taste of the new comers (see Toad Says “Hello”).


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