Slugs

Slugs provide food for snakes and toads. It seems like poetic justice that they get munched up as they feast on so many of our flowering plants...

<br />Slugs provide food for snakes and toads. It seems like poetic justice that they get munched up as they feast on so many of our flowering plants. Their predators also include birds, ducks and geese and turtles love them too, but gardeners definitely don’t!  I have never met a gardener who does not have an aversion to them. During times of drought slugs are not a problem in the garden, but when the weather is rainy, these slimy creatures seem to be out in full force. To control them, gardeners use chemicals, traps, barriers and hand picking which is especially nasty. Anything that is gritty and difficult to slide over, such as gravel or coffee grounds, can be used as a barrier around plants. The most popular trap is a saucer of beer which entices them to slide in. The poet Sharon Olds describes her reaction to slugs in the following verse:

When I was a connoisseuse of slugs

I would part the ivy leaves, and look for the

naked jelly of those gold bodies,

translucent strangers, glistening along the

stones, slowly, their gelatinous bodies

at my mercy. Made mostly of water,

they would shrivel

to nothing if they were sprinkled with salt,

but I was not interested in that. What I liked

was to draw aside the ivy, breathe the

odor of the wall, and stand there in silence

until the slug forgot I was there

and sent its antennae up out of its

head, the glimmering umber horns

rising like telescopes………..

While slugs may be fascinating to some people, I would much rather look at a flower.

This is Moya Andrews, and today we focused on slugs.

Photo by papalars

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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