Are Woodlice Bad For Plants? - Find Out Here

Written By James
Updated May 1, 2022 by James

Are Woodlice Bad For Plants? - Find Out Here

Can woodlice harm your plants?

Yes, woodlice are bad for plants. They eat roots and leaves, which cause damage to the plant.

If you find a dead plant, check around the base of the plant to see if there are any signs of woodlice infestation.

The species of woodlice found in gardens is the common garden pest called Periplaneta americana.

It has known to feed on many different types of plants, including vegetables, herbs, flowers, trees, shrubs, and even houseplants.

What are woodlice?

Woodlice are small terrestrial crustaceans that live in moist soil and on decaying organic matter. They have no actual legs but instead have two pairs of short, thick, segmented appendages called uropods.

These are for walking and feeding. Woodlice can be throughout the world.

These insects eat ripe strawberries, healthy plants, mature plants and garden beds.

Immature woodlice search for moisture level and food.

Signs of a woodlice infestation

The most obvious sign of an infestation is when you notice a dead plant matter or dying plant.

You may also notice some of these other symptoms:

  1. Crushed or broken stems
  2. Leaves with brown spots or discolouration
  3. Small holes in the leaves
  4. A smell coming from the plant
  5. The woodlice eat seedlings

Damp gardens

Damp conditions can increase the chances of pest infestation. The following factors can cause the damage to plants:

  • Too much water

Overwatering causes the soil to become too wet and soft, making it easier for pests to enter the root system.

Insects such as slugs and snails will move into damp areas to lay their eggs.

  • Poor drainage

When the soil becomes saturated with water, it cannot drain. It allows excess moisture to remain in the ground, increasing disease risk.

Pests like aphids and mites thrive in damp conditions.

  • Fungus diseases

Many fungi spread through the air and land. These include mildew, rust, and powdery mildew.

Some fungi attack the roots of plants, causing them to rot.

Other fungal infections affect the leaves, stems, and fruits of plants.

  • Nutrient deficiencies

Plant nutrients are essential for growth and development. If there are insufficient amounts, plants may grow, develop nutritional deficiencies, or die.

Certain nutrient deficiencies can lead to leaf yellowing, wilting, stunted growth, poor fruit set, or death.

Fourteen-legged crustaceans

This insect can cause plant life to wither away. It feeds on the root system of plants by sucking out their nutrients.

A woodlouse will usually move from one area of the garden to another.

It gives a higher chance of infestation when it comes into contact with new garden areas.

Woodlouse spider

The adult female is about 2 inches long and has six eyes. The male is smaller than the female.

Both sexes are with hair. They eat seedlings or seedling trays, as well as young plants.

Males also eat eggs and larvae.

How do I get rid of woodlice?

To keep your plants safe from woodlice, it's crucial to understand how they behave and what they need to survive.

First, let's talk about their life cycle.

To reproduce, woodlice must mate when the male crawls up onto the female and inserts his penis into her genital opening.

After mating, the female lays eggs inside the male—these eggs hatch after approximately three days.

Once hatched, baby woodlice crawled off of the mother and began to look for places to hide.

After approximately five weeks, the baby woodlice moult into nymphs.

Nymphs are immature adults.

Nymphs spend after few months eating and growing before becoming adults.

Adult woodlice are ready to lay eggs once they reach maturity at approximately four months old.

The female will deposit anywhere between 200 and 400 eggs.

There are several ways to remove woodlice from your garden. You may want to try one or more of these methods:

1. Remove all debris from the area where the problem exists. It will help reduce the amount of food available for the woodlice.

2. Use an insecticide spray to kill the woodlice. Please do not use this method near children or pets as it could harm them.

3. Maintain a healthy garden ecosystem by using mulch around the base of the plants. Mulching helps keep the soil cool and reduces moisture loss.

4. Planting attractive flowering perennials around your garden bed will attract beneficial insects such as ladybugs, lacewings and hoverflies. These insects will control the population of woodlice.

5. If you suspect that you have a more significant problem with woodlice, contact a professional exterminator.

6. Keep your garden clean and free of debris. It prevents garden predators from hiding out in the park.

7. Avoid overwatering. Watering too much can lead to root rot and other problems.

8. When planting new plants, make sure they are well-drained and planted in areas with good air circulation.

9. Use traps for woodlice. There are various types of traps available at local hardware stores.

10. Try growing a variety of plants in your garden. Different plants need different amounts of water and nutrients.

You can use insect powder or soap on your garden tools to prevent damage to your plants. Check your plants for signs of pests. Look for any damaged leaves or stems.

Final verdict 

The infestation of woodlice can be very damaging to your garden. Yet, there are many things you can do to cut the impact.

If you have a large number of woodlice in your garden, consider contacting a pest management company.

They can help you identify the source of the problem and recommend solutions. 

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My father, and his father before him, and his father; for the past 3 generations, my family have always been into gardening. The green fingers is a gift passed down to me and I thoroughly enjoy it! I also have worked in the manufacturing department for Bosch and DeWalt so I like to think I know a thing or two about tools and such!
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