What's sliming my carpet?
January 21, 2008 10:25 PM   Subscribe

There are wee slime trails on our carpet every morning. What's making them and how can I get rid of them (preferably without nasty chemicals...)

I live in Melbourne, Australia.

We've got a living room with carpet that's not sealed well against the floor against the back wall of the house. There's actually a little space under there that drops down to the foundation. In the morning there are always slime trails as if a bug, or group of bugs, is going exploring every night. They come up from under the carpet, tool about, and then descend again. Their purpose eludes me.

I haven't been able to catch the buggers in the act, but when I look under the edge of the carpet I see some little dark brown millipede-type things, generally curled up and dead. They don't seem to be the types of things that would leave a slime trail, but hey, what do I know?

I tried using a mess of salt, but that didn't work.

Can anyone make a decent guess as to what's going on and suggest a way to make it stop? It's pretty gross and I've got company coming to stay. I'd prefer to use a natural-type solution, but if it's gotta be Super-Power-Insect-Death Spray, I can deal.

posted by xz to Home & Garden (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
snails or slugs? but if you left salt out, that should have done the trick so, hmmm…
posted by violetk at 10:34 PM on January 21, 2008

This previous question and its (largely unsuccessful) answers may be of some interest.
posted by Partial Law at 10:38 PM on January 21, 2008

Sounds like snails/slugs to me. We had the same problem once. Try sealing the gap- use duct tape if all else fails, that'll stop it enough to see if they are coming through the gap or gaining entrance some other way.
posted by indienial at 10:41 PM on January 21, 2008

We had them in Sydney. It was slugs. We moved house. *shudder*
posted by web-goddess at 11:37 PM on January 21, 2008

Yeah, the previous question was mine, and I *still* have invisible slugs in my house. I know they are slugs because I stepped on one in the middle of the night. Barefoot of course. *shudder* Other than that one incident, I've never seen them.

If I didn't have a dog, I'd try putting down uber death granules.
posted by happyturtle at 12:39 AM on January 22, 2008

Snails or slugs for sure.

Legend has it that snails like beer. So if you'd rather share your beer rather than use poison how about setting up some sort of trap that involves them drowning in a dish of finest the Victoria Bitter.
posted by chairish at 12:42 AM on January 22, 2008

We had this problem in Oxford (UK). We tried salt, were unwilling to use something more noxious and I'm afraid it only went away when I became insomniac and caught the slugs in their slithering act at 3am. After a couple of nights when I scooped them up (two postcards make good slug-scoopers) and dumped them outside, they never came back.
posted by melisande at 1:53 AM on January 22, 2008

oooh! let me get this straight:

1) buy beer
2) stay up late
3) watch slugs make their move

wait a minute. this is beginning to sound like most of the parties i went to in college...

i can live with that!

if 1-3 don't work. i'm getting me some uber death granules. those also sound like something i would have tried in college.

who knew pest control could be so fun!
posted by xz at 2:00 AM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Beer traps catch all kinds of things though; I gave up on this method when I found a pickled skink one sad morning- like all capital punishment there's a strong risk of killing the innocent.

It's slugs. Why does everyone hate slugs anyway? Slugs are awesome, especially the ones with the stripes. I gather they eat either algae/mould or dead skin/pet food type stuff depending on the species. They're not eating your carpet are they? :O

Chooks and ducks eat them, I have a friend who used to go around at night collecting them in a bucket to feed to her chickens. (Or was that just snails? Hmm.) Perhaps more helpful suggestions may be found here: Natural Slug Control.
posted by Coaticass at 2:17 AM on January 22, 2008

Wedge crumpled aluminium foil into the gap, or spend $10 on a can of expanding foam gap filler.
posted by flabdablet at 2:46 AM on January 22, 2008

Get a hedgehog to patrol the area at night. They eat slugs. At least, the British variety do.
posted by Goofyy at 3:18 AM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Try some finely ground bran. IIRC, it absorbs the moisture in their bodies, and dries them out.

Do not do what my mother does, which is feed them cucumber "because they eat the cucumber and leave the plants alone".
posted by Solomon at 3:45 AM on January 22, 2008

Crushed eggshells also make a good slug barrier. Make sure they are crushed in a fine powder and spread a line the edge of the carpet. But if you really want to get rid of them (as opposed to simply deter them), I second the beer trap.
posted by bluefrog at 7:11 AM on January 22, 2008

as long as it isn't this big, you don't have a slug problem. (lol)

They can be pretty dangerous, as they function like a big slimy roller bearing if you step on one...
posted by ArgentCorvid at 7:30 AM on January 22, 2008

It's slugs. Why does everyone hate slugs anyway? Probably because they are leaving slime trains all over the house.

xz, if any of these suggestions work, please post again in case it works on my slime problem too.
posted by happyturtle at 2:19 PM on January 22, 2008

morning report:

last night, stayed up until 1:00, but no slugs in sight. followed the trails as best i could and left a heap of salt near where i thought they were most likely coming in. i also wiped up the trails as best i could. this morning, it looks like they haven't made any new trails. i'll vacuum today so i can be sure tomorrow.

i might also try to get the handyman to seal up the carpet edge next time he comes.
posted by xz at 3:00 PM on January 22, 2008

got the bastard! tonight at one, do a scope around and there he is; a big old slug sliming along the wall. obviously, the salt did no good. hopefully picking it up and chucking it over the fence into the laneway will. found his brother on the deck on my way out so gave him a free ride as well.

so confirmed: slugs is the problem.

solution one: salt -- fail
solution two: forcible relocation... tbd

still no idea what he's doing in the house. our yard is FULL of rotting peaches from the neighbour's tree!
posted by xz at 6:06 AM on January 23, 2008

jeez. just found another one! still no idea how they're getting in.
posted by xz at 6:15 AM on January 23, 2008

this morning; NO SLUG TRAILS!

i'll comment again if they come back, but i'd say forget the beer and salt and pellets. stay up late, catch them, dispose of them. it's not like they're hard to catch -- they're slugs.
posted by xz at 3:04 PM on January 23, 2008

sigh. tonight. 1:00 am, guess who's back?


this time, i killed the poor fellow. i didn't really want to, but he obviously couldn't take a hint. assuming it's the same one? if it's slug number three... heck if i know what to do except to repeat my vigil until they all die. i'm going to give it another half hour and see if there are any more tonight.

note to slug-stalkers; they only come out with the lights off, it seems.
posted by xz at 6:15 AM on January 24, 2008

after a few days, i'm happy to say killing/removing those three slugs seems to have done the trick. i probably could have just removed all three and still had a slug-free living room.
posted by xz at 4:29 AM on January 27, 2008

Make sure you find where they came in, or were living once they were in, or you might find you have the same problem in the future.
posted by Solomon at 6:45 AM on January 27, 2008

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