Is the banana slug disappearing from Gig Harbor?
The banana slug (Ariolimax columbianus) common to the Pacific Northwest has, apparently, disappeared from parts of Gig Harbor, Washington.
The banana slug will go into a type of dormancy similar to hibernation called “estivation” in a hot dry climate.
Even so, in many areas that remain wet, moist and shaded the banana slug will be evident all spring, summer and fall. The banana slug presence, if not in plain site, is evident by the slimy trail of mucus which they secrete as a protective layer.
Gig Harbor gardeners may experience the destruction that banana slugs cause in a garden. Hosta plants are a favorite target for slugs. The full undamaged leaves of the Hosta plant indicates an absence of banana slugs. The use of slug poison by the gardener may explain an intact undamaged Hosta.
The GigHarborTimes observes that this summer has provided relief from the insatiable banana slug. However, we hope that the disappearance is only temporary.
Banana slugs perform an important service in the environment by eating leaves, dead plant material and animal droppings which are excreted as a rich natural nitrogen fertilizer.
Will the banana slug return to Gig Harbor?
We don’t have the answer to that question. But as slimy as they are, we look forward to a mild wet spring and the return of the banana slug.