Woodlice is a typical crustacean found in gardens. I find that these crustaceans can be dangerous for most plants, like lettuce, carrots, and cauliflowers.
My neighbor told me woodlice could eat carrots. She gave me an insight into woodlice and the danger these crustaceans pose to carrots. Here is what I learned.
Woodlice can eat carrots but they are unable to bite into the firm tuber of this vegetable unless another rodent starts biting away after which a woodlouse will then begin nibbling on the ripe orange vegetable from where the rodent left off.
Can woodlice eat ripe carrots?
Ripe carrots grow at a depth of 12 inches and a woodlouse can dig 16-20 inches deep allowing them to access the vegetable at the harvesting stage.
However, if you are wondering whether woodlice can eat carrots without the help of other garden pests, then you are correct because the mouth of woodlice is not powerful enough to bite into the firm tubers of carrots.
Therefore, if the carrots are healthy, woodlice cannot harm them.
However, if wireworms, slugs, or snails, have already damaged the roots then woodlice can enhance the damage by nibbling into the holes.
Therefore, keeping your garden free of slugs, wireworms and snails is also essential to prevent a woodlice infestation.
Can woodlice be considered a pest for carrots?
Yes, woodlice are known to be dangerous for a carrot harvest. We usually associate woodlice with feeding on dead and decaying plant materials.
However, these crustaceans can be dangerous for bedding plants, and you can lose the entire harvest if you have planted a bed of carrots.
You need to manage a woodlice infestation at the onset because if it spreads it can destroy the other vegetables that you have planted in your garden.
What indicates that your carrots are suffering from woodlice damage?
If the carrot tops in your garden look damaged and dry, then chances are there that it has suffered woodlice damage.
Therefore, it is a good idea to pull out a few and check the damage caused by the woodlice.
If you find a few woodlice adhering to the damaged carrots with dark spots, you can be assured that the rest of the carrots are also suffering from a woodlice infestation.
In such a scenario, you will need to hire an exterminator to manage the infestation. Nevertheless, it will be difficult to save your carrot harvest once the infestation has started.
How should you manage your carrot bed to prevent a woodlice infestation from occurring?
If you are an amateur gardener and like growing vegetables, you first need to understand that woodlice live in dark and damp places.
They feed on dead and decaying plant materials like leaves and bark.
Hence, if you plan to plant vegetables like carrots, lettuce, cabbage, or cauliflower, you should make the bed for these plants in bright and sunny spots in your garden.
The beds should also be free of any decaying leaves and plant materials. This way, you will also avoid attracting other pests, making it harder for woodlice to eat the vegetables.
Why should you be careful about using mulch in your carrot bed especially concerning woodlice?
According to the website, Safeguard Pest Control, woodlice do not attack healthy plants.
However, while growing carrots, check if these are appropriately cured if you are in the habit of using mulch or organic fertilizer.
As woodlice prefer dead and decaying plant material, they might adhere to the mulch, and when you add it to the carrot bed, you will unknowingly add the woodlice to it.
This can result in a woodlice infestation, and these crustaceans can eat your carrots.
Can you use pesticides to prevent woodlice infestations?
It is challenging to manage a woodlice infestation once it has started.
You will find that most of the commercially available pesticides and insecticides are ineffective against a woodlice infestation.
You will need to call an exterminator to manage a woodlice infestation, even if it is only concentrated in your garden.
If you do not handle the infestation early on, you will find that the infestation can spread quite fast, and the woodlice can even enter your home.
Are woodlice beneficial to your garden?
Many gardeners would argue that woodlice can prove to be beneficial for your garden.
The primary reason is that they eat dead and decaying plant material. You will find that these crustaceans are pretty helpful in decomposing vegetable matter.
They add to the biodiversity and the overall ecosystem of a garden.
In nature, they can even act as food for other predators. This can attract animals required for pollination, thereby maintaining the overall ecological balance in nature.
Here is a list of animals that like eating carrots.