How to get rid of woodlice in your house and in the garden

Woodlice are a common household pest in the UK, and they can also be found in gardens. They come into your home by hiding in rotting wood or underground coverings, where they lay eggs that hatch to produce more woodlice.

Pillbugs are small, oval-shaped crustaceans that can be found in the United Kingdom. The most prevalent species is an oval-shaped crustacean, which is readily identified by its horizontal ridges and brown/grey colouration. Pillbugs in little quantities seldom cause any problems.

Woodlice are vulnerable to several pesticides and treatments, which is why many people despise them in their gardens. However, if they multiply too much and enter the house, and even more serious issues exist.

These little critters can cause damage to clothes and furniture. In this blog post, we will talk about how you can get rid of them from your house and garden so you don’t have to worry about these pesky pests any longer:

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Table of Contents

What do woodlice look like?

In the United Kingdom, there are about 70 species of woodlice (also known as pill bugs or slater bugs). The typical woodlice is a tiny crustacean with an oval shape. They usually measure no more than 15mm in length and have numerous horizontal ridges running down their brown/grey exoskeletons — as well as prominent antennae. 

house woodlice

How do woodlice enter the home?

Woodlice enter homes in three main ways:

  • Through cracks and gaps around doors, windows, sills or roof edges;
  • By hiding under stones, logs or other objects that are placed against the building exterior walls;
  • Hitching a ride with firewood. They can be found crawling out of wet rotting wood after rainfall has saturated it.

Woodlice are typically found outdoors in the garden, rather than inside the house – they usually reside beneath rocks and stones in cold, damp soil. They can nevertheless seek refuge indoors if certain conditions are met – but when you see single woodlice wandering around inside your home, it’s likely that they’ve come in by accident.

Woodlice infestations thrive in damp conditions and are therefore unable to survive long inside as a result of our tendency to keep a dry, warm interior environment. If they appear to be establishing themselves in your home, it’s possible that there is an underlying damp problem.

When a woodlouse infestation occurs, addressing it will require looking both inside and outside the home.

firewood can attract woodlice

What are the signs of a woodlice infestation?

Woodlice are not excessively invasive, so you may overlook indications of a problem until you see numerous woodlice moving about in your home.

They can cause superficial damage to wooden things, including pieces of furniture, hardwood floors, beams, and so on. They will gather in dark, damp rooms of the home. Woodlice eat decaying leaves and other debris in the garden; they won’t hurt or distress healthy plants and will actually assist you by removing detritus from window boxes and bedding areas.

Naturally, having a colony of woodlice in the bathroom, attic, or basement is something you shouldn’t put up with. Woodlice may be visible in higher areas on your property as an indication of a pest infestation progressing in the gutters; therefore, you may want to get this checked and treated by a pest control expert to prevent it from getting worse.

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Where do woodlice live?

Woodlice usually live outdoors, in places such as under stones and logs or other objects which are placed against the exterior walls of a building. They can come into your house through cracks and gaps around doors, windows, sills or roof edges.

What do woodlice eat?

Woodlice feed on decaying leaves and vegetation that they find in gardens, so it’s best to keep this area tidy if you want to get rid of them from this habitat completely. A few woodlouse species will also prey upon carrion (dead animals) – but not inside buildings! Woodlice won’t hurt healthy plants either; some people even believe they help gardening by eating detritus found on window boxes or plant beds.

Are woodlice harmful?

No. Woodlice are not considered harmful or dangerous to people, pets, homes or gardens. They don’t bite and they won’t harm the house in any way – unless there are excessive numbers of them inside your home. Some woodlouse species will prey upon carrion (dead animals), but this doesn’t happen indoors. A few woodlouse species may carry mites which can be a source of irritation for humans with allergies.

woodlice infestation

How to stop woodlice from coming indoors

There are three main ways to stop woodlice from coming indoors, here are some tips on pest control:

  • By fixing any cracks and gaps around doors, windows, sills or roof edges.
  • By ensuring that there are no stones, logs or other objects against the exterior walls which they can use as an entry point;
  • By making sure firewood is completely dry before bringing it inside. Woodlice will not survive long in a warm, dry interior environment.

If you have an underlying damp problem in your home, addressing it will also help get rid of any woodlice infestation. Pest control experts can advise on how to deal with this issue if it’s detected.

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How to kill visible woodlice

There are a few ways to kill woodlice which you can see scurrying around your home:

  • Aerosols with pyrethroid insecticides – these should be used in accordance with the product label instructions. Be sure to keep them away from children and pets!
  • Pesticide pellets or powder, which can also be placed in areas where pill bugs are known to congregate.
  • Steam cleaning may offer a short-term solution but will not provide long-lasting results.
  • Regular vacuuming
regular vacuuming

Frequently Asked Questions

How many legs does a woodlouse have?

seven pairs – Woodlice have a segmented, dorso-ventrally flattened body with seven pairs of jointed legs and specialized respiratory appendages similar to those seen in other peracids. Females carry fertilized eggs in their marsupium, through which they provide developing embryos with water, oxygen, and nutrients.

Is a woodlouse an insect?

It’s not, as you might think; woodlice are crustaceans, not insects.

Do woodlice bite humans?

No. Woodlice don’t bite humans and they won’t harm the house in any way – unless there are excessive numbers of them inside your home.

decomposing plants

Do woodlice sleep?

They do not sleep in a conventional way. They may be found in numerous types of habitats and are often mistaken for slugs. They have no waxy coating like their aquatic relatives, so they dry out easily. This is why woodlice hideaway during the day and come out at night.

How long do woodlice live for?

Woodlice can live for up to two to three years and in perfect conditions for up to 4 years.

if you are unsure about any of the above, make sure you contact a pest control company that specialises in this area.

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Oliver Wright

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