Sowbugs and Pillbugs
Sowbugs and pillbugs are not actually insects but crustaceans that are related to lobster, shrimp and crayfish. They are one of the few organisms in their class that have adapted to living on land. Various species of sowbugs and pillbugs can be found throughout the world. They are not harmful to people or cause structural damage. These critters are only considered pests when they slip inside your house looking for food or a damp place to hide out.
Both sowbugs and pillbugs do not bite people. These little critters may occasionally enter your house and are just nuisance pests. They will not spread disease or cause structural damage to your home.
Sowbugs and pillbugs are primarily active at night and during the day they hide in cool, damp spaces. You can find these critters under stones, logs, or pretty much any object sitting on damp earth. They can also be found in compost heaps, mulch and the space where grass meets the foundation or sidewalk. Sowbugs and pillbugs are scavengers. They primarily eat decaying plant matter and fungus. Sometimes these critters may munch on young plants. The sowbug and pillbug life cycle is an incomplete metamorphosis. They hatch from eggs looking like tiny versions of the adults and shed their skins several times as they grow. Sowbugs lay an average of 24 eggs per brood and will have 1 to 3 broods during the summer. It takes about 20 weeks for sowbugs to reach adulthood and they usually live for two years. Pillbugs carry an egg sac on the underside of the body and have an average of 28 young per brood. Adult Pillbugs can also live around two years, sometimes longer. Spiders, centipedes and even small mammals are common predators for sowbugs and pillbugs. Some Sowbugs can emit a chemical with a nasty smell and taste to deter predators.
Types of Sowbugs
Sowbugs and pillbugs range from 1⁄4 to 5⁄8 - inch long and can vary in shade from dark to slate gray. They have oval bodies with a segmented, rounded back that looks like armor, and chewing mouthparts. These critters have seven pairs of legs and two pairs of antennae, but only one pair of antennae can be easily seen. Sowbugs have two visible tail appendages while Pillbugs do not. Pillbugs are able to roll up into tight little balls for protection which has earned them the names “roly-polies” or “roly-poly bugs”. Sowbugs and Pillbugs breathe through gills found on their undersides.
Sowbugs In The Home & The Apartment
Sowbugs will sometimes sneak into crawlspaces and basements.They will slip inside under doors, through any cracks in the foundation and through the gaps in expansion joints. Once inside, sowbugs or pillbugs will usually only live for a few days unless they find an area with excess moisture. If you are regularly finding sowbugs indoors, it usually means there is a large population of these critters breeding somewhere nearby on the exterior of the home.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pillbugs
How do you prevent a sowbug infestation?
Managing your pillbug problem is as easy as reducing areas of excess moisture in and around your home and getting rid of debris on your property. Fix leaky faucets and garden hoses and check that your gutters are working properly. Make sure that water is draining away from the foundation. Reduce humidity in your basement and crawlspace by installing proper ventilation. Eliminate sowbug hiding areas near your foundation by removing any stones, flower pots or other large objects resting on the ground. Dispose of leaf clutter and grass clippings and be wary of large amounts of mulch. Elevate objects that you don’t wish to remove off the ground like stacking firewood on a pallet.
Benefits of Professional Sowbug Pest Control
A pest management professional has the education, equipment and skills necessary to effectively address a sowbug or pillbug problem. Finding and treating the sowbugs can be challenging, especially if they are spread throughout your yard. A pest management professional provides their expertise to identify the pest problem and determine the best possible solution to resolve the sowbug infestation.