Where the Slugs Live

Some have such lovely names. Others sound a bit exotic. Then there are those that sound about as terrible as they all truly are.

Silverfish. Camel cricket. Cockroach. Slug.

These are the invaders that the rain most often chases into my home. Out there in the wilds of my backyard, Iím sure they have a purpose and do their job well as part of the food chain. But in my house they are nothing but annoying pests.

Silverfish are actually kind of rare among the invading horde. They pop up in the cabinets below my counters, trying to camouflage themselves in my stainless steel mixing bowls. Silverfish they may be called, but they are not really silver, nor are they fish. They are horrid little gray bugs that wiggle in a most unsettling way as they move.

Camel crickets are the creepiest kind of cricket Iíve ever seen, which I had never before moving into my current home. My daughter calls them hoppers, and boy, can they hop! They try to hide in my laundry room, but every now and then we find one in the bathroom. Usually this is a discovery to which my husband and I are alerted with a high pitched scream from my daughter.

Cockroaches are the bane of civilized life, but they manage to be everywhere no matter how well we clean and spray and implement pest control. Most of the time they have the decency to stay out of sight, but every now and then I catch one and quickly destroy it with impunity.

slugBut of all the pests it is the slug that causes the most disgust with their trails of slime. For reasons I donít even understand this month they have been particularly plentiful. Weíve found them as small as half an inch and as large as six inches. I know because my daughter, the one who screams at hoppers, has taken to capturing and studying the slugs.

Last night one of them escaped on my kitchen table. My daughter discovered the jail break citing an air hole in the paper lid she had made. That slippery thing had pushed its way out tearing the paper. She followed its slime trail across the table, to the edge, and on the underside she recaptured her specimen. She was very proud of herself as she informed me of her excellent slug tracking skills.

I congratulated her then ordered the immediate decontamination of the area with bleach wipes and the slugís release back into the wild.

Itís a delicate balance encouraging her exploration and curiosity of the world, and suppressing my natural instinct to kill the creepies. I am also mystified by her differing reactions, being extremely distressed by the hoppers, yet fascinated by the slugs. Because of her we canít seem to kill any of the slugs. They alone hold the status of catch and release.

This is were the slugs live.

But if Hagrid ever shows up with some flesh eating slug repellent, I won’t say no.

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