Some gardeners believe that woodlice are responsible for eating young seedlings in the garden. Richard ‘Bugman’ Jones explains more about the type of habitat woodlice prefer and what they feed on – and why they gather in large groups.
There are anecdotal reports of woodlice supposedly nibbling at tiny seedlings, but really they only eat dead plant material like grass cuttings, fallen leaves, compost, or rotten wood. Their tendency to huddle in groups is not a sign of them reaching pest proportions, it’s actually a defence against drying out. They’re about our only terrestrial crustaceans; now that’s a vast group of mainly aquatic organisms (prawns and crabs, and the like), and although woodlice can occur abundantly, they still find it difficult on dry land, because it’s very dry. During the day they hide under logs and stones, in damp corners, and only come out to feed at night, when it’s cooler and usually moister.