The slug itself is the vector that releases the parasite into the digestive track. The tiniest slug can carry a potentially high load of parasites and those are particularly dangerous because they are easily overlooked in the washing process.
Generally slugs are active by night and hide in cool, damp, dark places by day. They can be found along the under plastic and terracotta planters, along the lip of pots, under leaves and rocks, in damp dark garages, shops and laundry rooms, under petfood bowls and in pet food storage containers.
Note: In East Maui, the New Guinea flatworm and the Semi-slug has been commonly found up in banana trees and in banana leaf sheath.
You can download and print Field Guide of Snails and Slugs in Hawaii Color photos by Kay Howe
All slugs and snails are potential carriers. The Semislug (Parmarion martensi) is the most efficient host.
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 plastic jar or bottle 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 plastic jar.
Please keep a notation of type and quantity of slugs gathered. That data will be helpful as we develop our vector control plans in the future. Mahalo