I brag (and generally feel very happy) about the fact that our property has long been considered “safe” by the many creatures that feel at home here. Last night, though I confess I was crestfallen when I went to my porch and found that something has been nibbling away at my gorgeous, long-lasting orchid that has taken me many years to get to flower.
The top picture is the orchid at its best, with many buds just waiting to open and delight me. The two bottom pictures show the damage. The buds are gone, I couldn’t even photograph those, I just snipped them off in anger and sadness. Then I tried to figure out what creature could have done the damage.
At first I thought it was the many little geckos whose droppings I clear every day but they’ve been here for years and I know that they are not fond of any of the flowers I’ve had out there. Then I thought about the baby iguanas that are freely roaming. And then from the corner of my eye, I saw a small slug.
I remembered my neighbor mentioning an infestation of slugs on her property (a bit far from ours) and recall having seen lots of them around our area too. I decided to due a google search and there in black and white and with a full description, I learned that slugs (baby and adult) can destroy an entire orchid plant once they embark on that project. So there was my answer. And in front of my eyes, was the unrefuttable evidence, a small slug making its way up the wall, leaving a trace of disgusting slime behind.
I took a deep breath, and tricked the slug into placing itself on a thin rod I happen to have handy for such occasions. Then I found a new home for the slug far, far away from my beloved orchids. I don’t know if there are eggs in the plants now and will need to devote many minutes investigating the area. But at least now I know what to look for and how to remedy it. As soon as the flowers die, I will relocate my orchid and see if it comes back better next year.
pictures of orchids my own