When, last August, I had nary a nibble on any of my prized hostas (or any other plant for that matter), I was overjoyed. Perhaps I was to be spared the usual slug infestation this year.
Not so in past years. They've been responsible for more damage than I care to think about and I'm partly responsible. Unfortunately I've introduced many slugs into my garden over the years--either on purchased plant material or gift plants from other gardens. As well, using mulch to protect my plants in times of hot, dry weather may be a double-edged sword when it comes to slugs. The mulch may actually attract more slugs to the moist environment created by the mulch and provide a safe place for them to over winter.
One of the hardest pests to spot in the garden, slugs can be very destructive. Adults emerge from underground when the soil warms up and slug eggs begin hatching once the temperature rises. Young slugs look like miniature versions of older, adult slugs and have just as voracious an appetite.
Think of them as snails without the shell. Slugs are soft-bodied mollusks that glide along on a musculature that secretes mucus, hence the telltale slime trail they leave in their wake. Slugs are most active at night when they feed on the tender shoots, young leaves and fruits of plants and decaying vegetation.
In hot, sunny weather they seek out the cool shade under leaves, containers, fence boards or crockery during the day and that is why you may never see a slug in …