WOODLICE numbers have increased this year and whilst related to lobsters (and not insects) these are crustacean one would rather do without.
I don’t mind these in the open garden where they feed on dead and decaying wood, fungi, and leaves, but I draw the line when I find them in the home and greenhouse.
Woodlice can be destructive in all glass structures for they nibble soft leaves, block up drainage holes in pots (with their droppings) and breed with a willingness only surpassed by rabbits.
Dampness is essential to woodlice for they have no waterproof coating on their bodies and in a single morning of bright sunshine they would, if venturing out, frizzle and curl in a trice.
For this reason, they mostly feed and become active at night.
Ideal conditions for woodlice include dampness, darkness, and moisture.
They will only feed when the air is moist and during frosty spells hide and sleep in cracks and fissures in the soil, under timber, pots, paving slabs, and general unswept ground.
Woodlice residing outdoors do similar but hiding places here are more numerous and plentiful.
Examples of outdoor hiding places include rotting leaves, logs stacked for firing, tubs, patio containers, and general garden rubbish.
Good at scavenging and superb natural composters, they return to the soil valuable amounts of humus.
However, that’s little compensation for ruined seedlings, spoiled foodstuffs, and poor general hygiene.
To rid woodlice in greenhouse or garden frame make a start by removing all likely hiding places.
Clear up leaves, debris, and general rubbish, then store pots trays, and garden containers up high in the driest parts.
Try as much as possible not to store anything on the floor for it is here that the required dampness is most often found.
If they persist, buy a powder insecticide and puff this into all those places you suspect the insects are hiding and breeding.
There are a number of these on the market, the best being those sold under the general description of ant and wasp killer.
As with all insecticides, do read the full instructions and follow them to the letter.
This is particularly important when attempting to control woodlice in the home or larder.