How to control slaters
Slaters (also known as Pillbugs or Woodlice) normally live in the garden. They are beneficial insects helping with the re-cycling of dead plant material. They don’t hurt anyone. However, sometimes they do find their way inside homes. If you are worried about slaters inside your home, there are certainly some tips to reduce their presence. If they do find their way in and you don’t fancy picking them up and throwing them back outside, there are a number of products to help you out!
THE SLATER (ALSO KNOW AS THE WOODLOUSE OR PILLBUG)
WHAT DO SLATERS LOOK LIKE?
- Although there are a number of difference species which vary in colour and size (generally less than 15mm), they all have a similar appearance – a small armoured bug (not an insect), grey / brown in colour with 7 body segments and 7 pairs of legs
- Young slaters look very similar to adult slaters on hatching from the eggs, except they only have 6 body segments / 6 pairs of legs
SIGNS OF AN INFESTATION
The presence of slaters inside the house is the first sign you may have a problem. There are 4 main reasons why slaters may come inside
- There are large numbers in flower beds outside your home and they come in “by accident”
- You have unwittingly provided a nice slater habitat somewhere inside or under your home – dark and damp with a food source (such as cardboard boxes)
- In droughts they may come inside seeking moisture
- In colder weather they may come inside seeking warmth
MAIN PEST SEASON
There is no real pest season for slaters, although they are certainly more abundant outside in the warmer months.
- Slaters are not insects but are actually crustaceans, members of the same family as prawns, crabs and lobsters!
- Slaters need moist environments to be able to breathe through their gill-like structures
- Slaters prefer to live in moist, dark environments, high in decaying plant matter – so garden beds under mulch, compost heaps, under logs and rocks are common hiding places.
SLATER PREVENTION TIPS
- As slaters feeding on mulch and decaying vegetation, keep garden beds and mulch away from the perimeter of the house
- If you do have a garden bed next to the house, use a non-plant based mulch (such as pebbles) and minimise watering (as slaters like moisture)
- Make sure all cracks and crevices around the edge of the house are sealed to prevent the entry of slaters and other unwanted pests.
SLATER CONTROL TIPS
- Slaters are easily killed with a direct spray of insecticides either with an aerosol or ready to use pump pack.
- Preventing the entry of slaters is best achieved by carrying out a perimeter spray with an insecticide (such as a ready to use pump pack), focusing on good coverage at ground level and around potential entry points.