We have learned that particular ecosystems, just like East Maui, are ideal habitats for the combination of vectors in which this parasite thrive. Since it has emerged here, it is imperative that our way of living change – being observant, proactive and informed is more critical than ever. The parasite is not visible so to get an upper hand on controlling the spread of the parasite calls for a war on rat feces – minimizing and eradicating rats, slugs and snails. Scrubbing fruits and veggies in clean running water is essential for insuring that even the tiniest slugs and residue are removed.
Rats’ lungs host the first stage of incubation, the larvae is passed through the rat feces, the slugs that travel over the rat feces ingest and carry the parasitic third stage larvae as they raid the veggie garden, banana bunches, papayas, pineapples, damp garages, pet food dishes by night leaving the third stage slime trail behind them. By morning they all flee to dark places, some smaller slugs hide in the dark folds of vegetation by day.
All water consumed and used for washing fruits and veggies should be potable standard.
Adopt a hyper cleaning habit with fruits, veggies, cooking surfaces, cutting boards, knives, refrigerator, etc. Food brushes and food thermometers are important handy tools.
Keep yard and garden areas free of fallen fruit.
If on a catchment system, clean tank roof and gutters often. Change water filters regularly, ultimately a 1 micron filter is preferred.
Generally slugs are active by night and hide in cool, damp, dark places by day. The semi-slug has different habits than the cuban slug and snail. Often they have been found climbing house walls and nesting in fruit trees. Generally all slugs can be found under plastic and terracotta planters, along the lip of pots, inside open ended garden hoses, under leaves and rocks, in damp dark garages, shops and laundry rooms, under petfood bowls and in pet food storage containers.
Use gloves or utility tools clearly marked for this purpose. Store tools in a anticeptic solution. – never handle slugs, snails, dead rats or feces with bare hands. Dispose of slugs and snails in a jar with tight fitting lid filled with a 20% salt water solution. This kills the slug and prevents pets or rats from eating. Do not leave dead slugs out in the open. They may be dead but the parasite is transmittable for hours.
Commercial slug bait is effective, read labels carefully, some are toxic to pets. There are simple methods to attract and trap/kill slugs. One method demonstrated uses a dark tarp or black plastic garbage bag. Lay flat on the ground – folded 3 times with water sprinkled between layers. Place a rock on top to secure in place overnight. Using gloves and utility tongs, unfold the layers and remove the slugs gathered between folds. Place in salt water jar.
Use appropriate traps to kill rats. Do NOT handle carcass without gloves, place in sealed plastic bag, dispose in trash containers with lid firmly closed.
When swapping, buying or selling potted plants, inspect the plant, the soil and the underside of pots.
If transporting truckloads of dirt or rock, inspect contents thoroughly before distributing on your property. The parasitic nematode can survive deep in the soil.