How to get rid of woodlice in your house
Woodlice are a common pest in households throughout Canada. Many of us find them living in our gardens in small numbers which doesn’t pose much of a threat. Every so often, however, a woodlice infestation can occur and become difficult to control.
No one likes an infestation, whether the pest is harmless or dangerous. The idea of potentially hundreds of insects crawling around a house at night is enough to give anyone nightmares, which is why prevention and control is key. Keep reading to learn more about woodlice and how to spot an infestation and control it safely.
The world of woodlice
Woodlice, also known as pill bugs, are not actually insects. They are a species of crustacean, which are closely related to lobsters and shrimp. However, woodlice prefer living on land.
To the surprise of many, woodlice perform an important duty in natural ecosystems by eating decaying matter such as dead plant matter, fallen or decaying fruit and even animal droppings. They leave living plants and humans alone, which is why they are not considered harmful pests.
Woodlice are small but you can spot them with the naked eye. They are oval-shaped, greyish-coloured, and approximately 13mm to 15mm long. Their body segments are made of a soft shell. They have 7 pairs of legs and 2 pairs of antennae. There are several different types of woodlice, but the most well-known type is the common rough woodlouse.
Woodlice have four main life stages: egg, manca, juvenile, and adult. The egg stage is self-explanatory, although you probably won’t ever see woodlice eggs, as they are carried in their mother's brood pouch. The eggs hatch into mancae, which look much like adult woodlice but are much paler and have fewer legs. They undergo two molts, one in the manca stage, and another in the juvenile woodlice stage. Altogether, woodlice live between two and four years.
Where to Find Woodlice
Woodlice thrive in moist and damp conditions which is why your garden is their perfect home. Woodlice species live under stones, rotting leaves, dead wood, stumps, and plants. They especially love dark and humid places which in the natural world are forests, fields, and anywhere near water sources. This is also why woodlice are attracted to basements and the humid spots in our homes.
Woodlice feed on rotting wood, mildew, decaying matter, and plant life. Inside properties, they may feed on damp wood and mould, while in the garden, they will feed on any decaying or rotting natural matter.
Are Woodlice Harmless or Dangerous?
Woodlice are harmless to humans. They don’t sting, bite, or transmit any disease, so if you find them in your house, you shouldn't be concerned for your health. However, they can damage your house.
Signs of Infestation
Woodlice are small so an infestation may not be extremely noticeable. There are, however, some clear signs that you have an infestation:
- Woodlice and pill bugs tend to be more prevalent in the autumn, winter, and spring.?
- Woodlice are less of a problem in the summer months due to dry conditions.?
- You may find superficial gnawing marks on wooden objects such as furniture.?
- Woodlice produce a noticeable bad smell of ammonia.?
- Woodlice leave square shaped faeces.?
What damage can woodlice do?
Woodlice can only cause small amounts of damage to wooden objects — including furniture, wooden floors, beams etc. They typically group together in dark, damp areas of the home. If you discover woodlice in the upper areas of your home then this could be an indication that an infestation is developing.
They can also cause damage to your garden as they reproduce very easily, and in large colonies they can kill your plants in a short amount of time.
Pest Control Tips
Don’t panic, getting rid of a woodlice infestation is relatively easy compared to other pests. As mentioned, woodlice are an indication of mould, wood rot or decay, and humidity. Therefore, by changing the environment you should be able to get rid of the infestation.
Natural ways to control a woodlice infestation
There are some simple steps you can take if you spot woodlice in your home. Tips include:
- Clean your gutters regularly.?
- Identify and regularly check dark, humid places in your house.?
- Find any cracks, cervices, and holes and seal them.?
- Keep your outside drains and gutters clear of debris.?
- Call a plumber if you have water damage. When there are pill bugs inside your home, it’s usually because of a moisture problem or a water leak.?
- Clear away leaves and debris from the outside walls of your home, especially near ventilation bricks and grilles.?
- Move pots further away from your walls as woodlice love to live under these.?
- Reduce the humidity in areas where you have seen woodlice. ?
- Use a dehumidifier or a fan to lower the humidity in the basement as much as possible and ensure that the foundation is free from cracks. ?
- Keep the relative humidity in your house below 60% to ensure you limit the chance of infestation.?
Call a pest control company
There may come a time where the infestation is too overwhelming for you to control on your own. By no means should you tackle this by yourself. VExtermination provides an incredible emergency service which provides fast and efficient control.
We provide residential, commercial, and agricultural services for protection, wildlife control, and damage restoration to ensure your peace of mind. Whilst you may think that a pest infestation is under control, professional pest control routine check-ups are the best way to ensure your home is truly safe.
Professional exterminators can analyze the level of woodlice infestation and find the best solution to get rid of these pests quickly and safely. Don’t hesitate to contact VExtermination for all your pest management needs.