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Woodlice eating seedlings!

Hi all, first of all I'm new here, so apologies if I'm posting in the wrong category or need to be steered to the relevant thread..

I stumbled across this site whilst searching online for solutions to the woodlice issue I currently have - they are eating the small seedlings and shoots that I've planted in a raised bed in our greenhouse. Yes, you read correctly (!)- eating small seedlings and shoots!
(Hollyhock, Gaillardia and sunflowers seedlings mainly, and some bulb shoots from a friend that I haven't identified yet.) 

And yet the information I've read online so far on what seems to be the popular opinion or experience of their eating habits is contradictory - that they only feed on dead or decaying matter...yet I have seen them on numerous occasions (both at night time and during the day), actively chomping away at my plants! Has anyone else experienced this?

Annoying though it is, the only sensible solution I can think of is to in future germinate seedlings in trays and wait for them to grow to a bigger, more robust size before planting them out. 

If anyone has any other helpful hints or suggestions, i'd be grateful!

Many thanks :smile:


  • wild edgeswild edges Posts: 10,455
    Some woodlice will eat live plants but like you say it is usually tender seedlings as they're not really equipped to deal with tougher stuff. How are you watering the seedlings? Since woodlice like a damp enviroment I'm wondering if a more localised watering of the seedlings might keep the rest of the bed dryer and put them off a bit.
    If you can keep your head, while those around you are losing theirs, you may not have grasped the seriousness of the situation.
  • Good point - I usually water with a hose as I already have some bigger plants growing. In this instance it could prove tricky to water more locally as you suggest, but that's good advice for the next season - thank you!
  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 3,146
    'Woodlice eating seedlings' that is certainly different ; in all my years experience I've never come across young plants that actually devour woodlice..... Amazing !
    Where can I obtain the seeds from ; I have woodlice in my g/house and would love to grow something that actually feeds on them .

    My daft sense of humour ; couldn't resist it  ;)

  • FireFire Posts: 18,983
    You need a hyphen, my friend.
  • B3B3 Posts: 27,331
    No hyphen, @Paul B3 !
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • soiamcontactablesoiamcontactable Posts: 3
    edited April 2019
    Ha! As Wild Edges pointed out, the dampness of the soil could have something to do with it (it gets very hot in the greenhouse in warmer weather and needs frequent watering). That coupled with the fact that the wood sleeper retaining wall for the bed is old and very established now - a perfect and healthy environment for the humble woodlouse, no doubt. But yes Paul B3, it is pretty amazing..!

    It did cross my mind that it might have been the particular seedlings that I planted that proved too tasty for them..but I don't think that's the case. Alternatively, if you're desperate for your seedlings to feed woodlice, maybe Royal Mail will let me send woodlice through the post - you're welcome to as many as you want! :-P
  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 3,146
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