As spring advances and outdoor temperatures climb over 10 C woodlice and other small intruders appear more often inside houses. Woodlice, commonly known as slaters, are often by laics mistakenly referred to as small insects or bugs. The creatures do not in fact belong to the same class as insects, they are Crustaceas.
The class Crustacea is an enormous grouping of species of Arthropods (Invertebrates), the vast majority of which are aquatic. Very few species have successfully colonised land, but woodlice are undoubtedly the best known. Some of about 35 species of woodlice in Britain are of horticulture and agriculture significance for damage to plants whilst the commonest the Garden Woodlice come indoors. All species of woodlice live in damp areas and those species commonly found in the garden are usually associated with dead and rotting vegetation beneath stones, flower pots etc.
Control of woodlice inside a house may be achieved by cleaning as they do not breed indoors. Proofing by sealing potential entry points should be attempted. To help prevent further invasion from the adjacent garden, rubbish and other potential refuges, e.g. overgrown vegetation and dead leaves around perimeter of the house should be removed. An insecticidal barrier of a residual dust or spray may also help prevent further immigration into damp areas to discourage the presence of woodlice.
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By Martin Kroupa