For The Fifth Time – Stay Away From My Lettuce

Killer Slug

No, it’s not a snake, it’s a big mean old killer slug out to get my vegetables! I can’t seem to get rid of these bastards, and I keep hearing it’s a slow slug year?… I’m a little bit scared.
Anyway, as the old saying goes, keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer, here’s some background on what went wrong.  (And please tell me if you know how I would be able to keep my vegetables to myself. Maybe this slug story of my garden is getting out of hand 😉 )

Well the Killer Slug is a recent nickname while it’s also called the Spanish Slug or Arion Lusitanicus in Latin. Killer Slugs because they’re cannibals who’ll eat their own kind if they’re weak or dead. That’s why the slug poison with iron phosphate is effective, because the dead slugs are poisonous to the healthy ones. They originally spread from the Iberian Peninsula (Spain, Portugal, Andorra, Gibraltar, France) to Northern Europe in 1900-something via trading routes.

The one in the picture is a fully grown one of about 12 cm (5 inch) and is able to lay up to 800 eggs a year. They are hermaphrodites so a single slug is able to mess up your garden on its own. There are rumors that the Spanish Slugs are mating with the Black Slugs to build up resistance against frost. Expect to see some crazy high voltage razor sharp fences around my garden if that ever happens. 😉

Is this also a problem in the states or is this only a problem in Europe?

6 comments on “For The Fifth Time – Stay Away From My Lettuce

  1. -

    I have never in my life seen a slug that big. I have the willies just looking at your pic. We have smaller ones, but as of yet, I don’t have any in my garden. I found this article for you however….I hope it’s helpful!

    Slug Stoppers

  2. -

    Hi Beth, thank you for the link! I like the tip about planting red clover to distract the slugs from the beds. Apparently they like the clover, just as I found out with tagetes. Quite a few of my tagetes have been attacked, but as long as they leave the vegetables alone it’s just fine.
    I’m also considering hiring some kids to pick them up, in a pay-per-snail system 😉

  3. -

    I really like that website. It’s really helped me not to revert back to my old chemical ways! 🙂

  4. -

    @Beth: They also mention biodynamic gardening. That’s a subject I would like to study more. It’s fascinating that the theories could actually be true. It gives you a sense of connection with everything.

  5. -

    I’ve never seen any slugs here in the States anywhere near that big! Gross, I would die if I came up on something like that. I don’t have much problem with our smaller ones but I do know of something that might help you. Slugs or snails will not crawl across copper of any sort; it short circuits their body. Since you have raised beds you can line the top edge of the bed with a thin copper strip and they won’t crawl over it to get into your bed.

  6. -

    @annie: Copper strips, that’s just a great idea, thank you! I’m wondering if it would be sufficient with mains wire with the plastic insulation stripped off. Definitely worth a try.
    Well let’s hope the killer slugs stay in Europe 😉

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