Mom: Slug Exterminator

My mom abhors slugs (“namekuji” in Japanese).  I actually think she may have a real clinical phobia toward them.  Moving to the pacific northwest only exacerbated her fear, as they thrive in this climate.  Some of them get quite large as well — my mom refers to these as “submarines”.

Well, earlier this year, she decided to fight back.  She started spending her mornings in the back yard and garden, obsessively using chopsticks to pluck the slugs from the ground and toss them into the waste bin.  My sister convinced her that she should keep careful tallies of the slugs she’s captured, knowing I’d be willing to graph the results.  Here they are, for your viewing pleasure:

As you can see, she was on a tear during the late spring / early summer.  They appeared all but gone in the late summer (such that she couldn’t really find any to capture), though they popped back up to a low level during the fall.  It’s hard to tell how much of the decrease was seasonal, and how much was from her making a sizable dent to the overall slug population.  I’m quite curious to see how this trend further develops into next year, and whether her vigilance could prevent them from accumulating to the levels they got to in 2015.

3 thoughts on “Mom: Slug Exterminator

  1. I read this post and was instantly reminded of my mom. Instead of obsessing over slugs, she obsesses over the beetles we have here in the Midwest. Every day during the spring and summer, she would go out around 6am and again at 2, since this is when they seemed to be most active. She would pick them off and plop them into a milk jug filled with soapy water, so they couldn’t fly away and would drown. Eventually, she got to the point where she would get up before the sun rose, and put a thin, meshy fabric over her plants. The beetles would land on the mesh in the morning as the sun rose, and wouldn’t be able to eat her plants! So she’d wrap them up and shake them off into a bucket full of soapy water and ready her net for the 2pm surge. Like your mom, we saw a significant decrease in beetles toward the end of the season and then a small uptick as it neared fall. I wish I would have thought to graph out her kills like you did!

    1. Thanks for sharing your own story; the level of determination does seem quite similar! It’s nice to hear that posting about something rather silly / humorous like this can still be related to and trigger memories of parents / loved ones for other people.

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