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"Killer Slug" Real Threat to Crops

The Spanish slug ( Arion lusitanicus) is rapidly becoming a threat to commercial farming in Finland. For the first time in this country, the slug has devoured one strawberry farm's entire crop.

The mid-sized strawberry producer in the Åland Islands saw this season's entire strawberry crop devastated by the Spanish slug. As its name implies, the slug is not native to Finland, but has crept into the country, to the chagrin of home gardeners.

They are also known as "killer slugs" because they will eat dead or dying slugs and use their protein to rapidly reproduce.

Snail expert Bengt Lindqvist from the Agrifood Research Finland visited the stricken strawberry farm. He says the situation is alarming, and is urging farmers and the government to take rapid pre-emptive action against the spread of the killer slugs.

"It's going to get difficult here, but if we start early, we might be able to prevent the kind of destruction that is happening in Sweden. They let the situation get pretty bad before they recognized the problem," Lindqvist warns.

In Sweden, the Spanish slug is a serious problem for farmers, and has even begun devouring grain feed needed for the cattle industry.

Sources: YLE

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