Where do slugs inhabit during the day? I never see them when turning and working the soil in my garden, yet my hostas have the typical holes that slugs chew. Since they move so slowly, I wondered how far and from where they travel to feast on my plants.
Slugs have become a common pest in Michigan gardens. They are not insects, but rather members of the mollusk family, which is related to clams, oysters and octopuses. Slugs are similar to snails, but they have no visible shell. Their bodies require moisture and dry out quickly in the sun. For that reason, they hide during the day and come out to feed at night or during cloudy, rainy weather. Slugs move slowly, relying on a large foot for locomotion. They secrete a slimy mucus that eventually hardens behind them, leaving a visible trail.
Their hiding places include rocks, boards, leaves and other damp areas. They will use crevices and holes made by other creatures such as earthworms. As long as their resting place remains moist, they may travel the same route to their food source each night.
Slugs also need moist, shady areas to lay their eggs. Egg masses can hatch in 2-4 weeks or remain dormant for a very long time if dry conditions persist. They reach maturity in 5 months to 2 years. They feed on a wide variety of vegetation, but do have their preferences. As many gardeners know, hostas, with their dense canopy of foliage, are one of their favorites.