We’ve all seen them - those tiny bugs that curl up into little balls and roll from one place to another. Some of us call them roly polys or doodle bugs. Maybe you refer to them as sow bugs, armadillo bugs, or perhaps potato bugs. Some people even call them wood lice. Whatever you call them, these little guys are known as pill bugs, and they are considered nuisance pests.
What Are Pill Bugs?
You may assume that pill bugs are insects, but they’re actually crustaceans! Related to crawfish and crabs, these little guys are the only species of crustacean that can live outside of the water. They use gills to breathe, so they need a whole lot of moisture to survive, but they cannot survive in completely submerged water, nor can they survive in conditions that are too dry. Moisture levels have to be just right.
As you probably know, pill bugs are known for their ability to roll into a tiny ball. They only do this when they feel disturbed. Their backs are made of a hard, outer shell that looks a lot like armor, and their underbellies are soft. So, rolling into a ball is a defense mechanism and it allows them to guard their sensitive underside from harm. Here are some other characteristics to help you accurately identify a pill bug:
- About ¾ inch long
- Oval shaped body with 7 pairs of legs
- Back shell made up of 7 hard individual plates
- Dark brown/black to slate gray
- 2 pairs of antennae; no wings
Pill bugs can live up to two years and they’re mostly active at night. They’re found in wet, damp locations, since they need moisture to survive, and they’re considered garden dwellers. This means that they hang around your yard, eating leaves, debris, and rotting vegetation. They feed on and destroy the roots of your plants, stunting their growth and damaging their sprouts.
Other than the negative effect they can have on your vegetation, pill bugs are not harmful. They pose no real threat to people or pets. They’re not dangerous and they’re mostly just considered a nuisance pest. They do tend to breed in large numbers, allowing the nuisance to spread further and further. When their populations grow, they start to move indoors in search of food and shelter.
Preventing Pill Bugs
If you want to be proactive in your efforts to protect your property from pill bugs, there are some preventative measures you can take. It’s important to be consistent in maintaining clean conditions and avoiding moisture problems around your property to keep them away. Here are some useful tips to help you reduce your exposure to and minimize your chances of experiencing pill bug activity:
- Aerate mulch beds and lawns.
- Get rid of food sources like plant debris, leaves, and grass clippings.
- Install door sweeps on outside doors.
- Vacuum around the house frequently, in corners and under furniture.
- Keep firewood stored off the ground and away from the foundation.
- Reduce excess moisture around the property.
- Maintain functional gutters and downspouts.
- Maintain proper ventilation in basements, crawlspaces, and attics.
- Seal off cracks, gaps, and openings in the foundation.
Innovative Pest Control Can Help!
For the best, most reliable source of pest control and prevention, look no further than Innovative Pest Control. Our team of pest professionals is highly trained in the accurate identification, extermination, and prevention of pill bugs, and we’re ready to help you protect your property from pests all year long. Contact us today for a consultation. No matter the nature of your pest problem, we’re here to help. Give us a call to get started.