Slater graveyard

Recently, I created a page on simple slug, snail and earwig traps. These traps do lure a lot of Slaters (aka Woodlice) to their deaths as a ‘by catch’ of the process.

Lots of folk complain about these little crustaceans (they’re not insects, but related to shrimp and just as tasty!) but they’re harmless. Slaters get by by helping break down decaying organic material in the garden. They don’t eat your seedlings but it turns out that they love vegetable oil as much as Earwigs do.

Lotsa chook food

Today when I was refilling one of the new traps, I saw an old trap under one of the worm farms. I’d forgotten about it the last time I cleaned the rest.

Imaging my surprise when I pulled it out of the ground and saw that it was nearly full of little grey bodies – Slaters!

This is good news indeed. I’m not worried about reducing their numbers in the garden – there are thousands of them and they especially love the worm farms.

It means a convenient way to feed them to the chickens. I usually grab handfuls when I see them and toss them in to the girls but this is a little haphazard and I’m trying to reduce our dependency on grain as the girl’s main food.

I had tried breeding Slaters up to good numbers in something like our Mealworm Palace but was unsuccessful. This makes a perfect solution as they breed up in the worm farms then can be lured out with a little vegetable oil. If I empty the traps on a monthly basis, many of the bodies should still be reasonably fresh.

I think it could be a winner. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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