Woodlice are eating my strawberries

EmerionEmerion Posts: 96
Hello, I grow some of my strawberries in the poly tunnel, which has been mostly trouble free, except that woodlice are taking more and more of them. Last year it was just a few, which I didn’t mind, but it’s getting worse. There is a fern growing close to them, which I have not been able to dig out, so I just keep it cut hard back. Might they be coming from there? Any cunning ideas for slowing the little devils down a bit? 

Posts

  • BirminghamMarc1972BirminghamMarc1972 Birmingham Posts: 595
    I wouldn't have thought woodlice are eating them. The eat decaying items 
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 2,217
    Emerion, have you actually caught them in the act?  Woodlice mostly eat dead and decaying plant matter, thus helping maintain soil fertility, which makes them the gardener's friend.  I've seen posts on here before complaining of woodlice damaging fruit, and it is often suggested that something else, such as a wasp, has done the damage.  A cavity in a ripe fruit provides just the sort of cool dampness that a woodlouse likes to snuggle into, and then they get the blame.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 24,543
    It's more likely to be slugs eating them initially, and the woodlice are in clearing up the detritus, although some people have recorded them eating plants.
    I think that's pretty rare though. 

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • EmerionEmerion Posts: 96
    No, it’s definitely only woodlice. Despite being over run with slugs outside,  I don’t ever see any in the poly tunnel, on the strawberries or anywhere else. I keep it as dry as possible in there, whilst still keeping my plants well-watered, so slugs don’t like it. But I do regularly find strawberries infested with dozens of woodlice. A strawberry which is nearly ready to pick in the morning , will be full of them and almost demolished later in the day. No slugs on them, or any slug trails, and I have checked during the evening. 
  • steephillsteephill Posts: 850
    It is a myth that woodlice only eat dead and decaying material. I have lost dozens of strawberries over the years to woodlice just as Emerion describes. Removing their hiding places will help but you may not be able to to eliminate them.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Bath, SomersetPosts: 3,325
    I had the same problem in a strawberry bed surrounded by back mulch paths. In the end I got an old metal legged computer table and grow the strawberries in a large growing bag on top. I put grease bands round the legs to stop anything climbing up.
    End of problem.  It also makes it much easier to harvest.  
  • EmerionEmerion Posts: 96
    That’s an idea. I grow my veggie seedlings on, standing on a table with its legs in water, but grease bands sound better. Where do you get them from? And how many strawberry plants to a grow bag?
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 5,324
    Last year I put a metal table on my deck with its feet in bowls of salt. Worked very well.
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