I live in a very dry environment (Perth, Western Australia) and my wife and I use a lot of strawmulch on our gardens. Unfortunately this is a perfect breeding ground for Woodlice (which we call Slaters but which Google tells me are also known as Sowbugs).
I would like to hear from others who might have had success in managing them.
We use raised garden beds because of moisture control. They are well suited for this environment, except that they separate the garden bed from natural predators, like lizards.
The Slaters swarm all over new seedlings and devour the whole lot. They can wipe out a newly planted garden overnight.
We put down citrus peelings (orange is better than lemon, though lemon also works), which they are attract them (they like the white pith).
We go out and commit "Slatercide" as often as we can remember (apologies to Buddhists). It controls the situation but is labour intensive.
Has anybody thought of an easier, more holistic method of control?
Location: Lower Mainland British Columbia Canada Zone 8a/ Manchester Jamaica
posted 6 years ago
Do you have any natural predators you can cycle over them before and after a gardening cycle? Like put it a cover crop to draw them out then put chickens onto the orange peels and sprouts full of slaters?
I have both slaters and slugs at the same time, they both come surging out of the woody mulch to kill the top and bottom of my plants. Chickens scratch them up and out, my ducks only dig them up in the wet season.
If you have lizards then there may be much better alternatives available to you, but I only know the blue tongue eats slugs, pill bugs is more of a digging affair.
There is a parasite that is used to control some isopods and there is also a spider that eats nothing else (so they say). I also read that infestations are generally caused from a deficiency of jasmonate. Detritivorous crustaceans become herbivores on jasmonate-deficient plants. Here is a link to a scholarly article http://www.pnas.org/content/106/3/935.short
Diversified Food forest maker . Fill every niche and you'll have less weeds (the weeds are the crop too). Fruit, greens, wild harvest, and nuts as staple. Food processing and preservation are key to self self-sufficiency. Never eat a plant without posetive identification and/or consulting an expert.
Check around for slugs too, they like the same conditions and slugs are by far more damaging. Caffeine kills them, and putting used coffee grounds around the new plants works pretty well. I'm having that problem in my new garden - the slugs are eating about 3/4 of my seedlings as they emerge.
Location: Cottesloe Sands, Perth, Western Australia
posted 4 years ago
Hi, sorry I only got to this post 12 months late! What suburb of Perth are you in? Assuming you don't have a bobtail around, in Perth your best defence is probably frogs. Motorbike frogs will move in anywhere given a chance. Do you have a pond? Failing that, upturned citrus shells (eat the fruit first!) on top of a piece of cardboard will collect loads of slaters. You can then dispose of them as you see fit...
If you haven't already tried, one of the local permie groups will be more than happy to give you more local info and show their solutions, slaters are a problem for anyone around here who is starting up. http://permaculturewest.org.au/community/local-groups I'm with the Northern group (NAPEs).
Location: Some where in the universe in space and time.
posted 4 years ago
Look to the way you are raised off the ground. Are you on posts? if so slather the posts with petrollium jelly or what ever is similar in the organic realm.
Sow bugs are trying to gain moisture, so are you over watering? Do you have spiders? Spiders are a great way to keep other insect populations under control.
Most insects breath through thier carapace/ basically the skin. If the poors get clogged they can not survive. This is why natural oil is so effective, any oil will do. Olive oil, vegetable oil, etc.
If you are in ground contact try using beer traps. I tuna can cleaned out, buried to the rim add beer give them a good death.
other wise are they realy the cause of the problem? Can you cover the seedlings or keep them indoors? Are slug,snail actually the problem?
Do you have enough organic mataerial on the ground to0 satisfy the wood lice so they do not go for the seedlings? Good stuff to think about. Look For shiny trails which indicate slugs and snails. Have a great day.
Be most excellent to each other.
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