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Environmental Board gathers information on the spread of an invasive slug species

Spanish slug. Photo: Uudo Timm
Spanish slug. Photo: Uudo Timm

Brought to Estonia in potted plants and soil from Southern countries, the Spanish slug now spreads exponentially due to the warm winter. The Environmental Board has now released an application that people can use to submit information concerning the spread of the Spanish slug in Estonia.

"In order to recommend the best control methods," explains Eike Tammekänd, the Chief Species Protection Specialist of the Environmental Board, "and help local governments and communities deal with the slug, we need to know where this invasive alien species has spread. For this reason, we have started to systematically gather information."

Anyone can use their computer, mobile phone or any other smart device to access the application at and mark on the map of Estonia where they have seen the Spanish slug. Application fields are in Estonian, Russian and English.

"We also kindly request," Tammekänd continues, "that people submit photographs of the Spanish slug via the application. This way, we can be certain that the slug they found is indeed an invasive species, not the indigenous leopard slug or black keel-back slug which are completely harmless for our ecosystem." The application lists important characteristics of both the Spanish slug and two similar-looking indigenous slug species. These help people ascertain whether the slug they found is the dangerous alien species.

The application also shows all the previously marked locations of Spanish slugs. The map shows the locations where people have seen the Spanish slug, allowing neighbourhood residents to work together to control the spread of the pest.Nutirakenduse QR-kood.

Controlling the spread of the Spanish slug requires communities working together. Combating this invasive species is most effective only when it is carried out in the entire area in which it's found. The main recommendation for combating the Spanish slug is to collect them in a container and kill them by pouring hot water over them. This should be done to their eggs as well. For more recommendations, visit the Environmental Board's website.

The Spanish slug is an invasive alien species first found in Estonia in 2008. Now, they can be found in massive numbers in some areas. This species causes gardeners a lot of frustration, as it is infamous for its voracious appetite for horticultural products and ornamental plants.

Andri Küüts
Advisor, Public Relations Department, Environmental Board
5745 0332

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