Slaters are not insects, they are one of the only land-living crustaceans and are closely related to prawns and crabs.
Slaters are small and up to 2cm long with a heavily segmented body. Most segments have a pair of legs while the head has two pairs of antennae with one pair easily noticeable, while the other pair is not. Slaters are generally grey but some species are orange, brown or yellow.
After disturbance, some slater species tuck their head into their abdomen and roll into a ball as a defence behaviour, very much like an armadillo does. Hence, the common name ‘Pill Bug’ or ‘Roley Poley’.
Females carry their eggs in a pouch which emerge after hatching. Slaters can produce many generations per year which can lead to plague proportions. Juveniles are similar to adults but are smaller and lighter in colour.
Slaters prefer moist environments with plenty of dead organic material to feed on. In high numbers, slaters also feed on vegetable and flower seedlings, root vegetables and fruits laying on the ground (such as strawberries), sometimes feeding on soft stems and branches.
Slaters often hide under compost, mulch, rocks, timber and dense vegetation such as groundcovers.
For the control of slaters near non-edible plants try Baysol Snail & Slug Bait.
Chewed off tops of emerging seedlings leaving only the stem behind. Ringbarking of seedlings, stems and branches. Holes in fruit and root vegetables.
Vegetable and flower seedlings, root vegetables and fruits laying on the ground (such as strawberries), sometimes feeding on soft stems and branches.