pillbug on a kitchen countertop in texas kitchenWHAT DO PILLBUGS LOOK LIKE?

Pillbugs look a little like miniature armadillos! They are isopods, rather than insects, which means they are crustaceans and are the land-dwelling cousins of crabs and lobsters. They do not have wings, are oval shaped, and are small at about ½ inch in length. They have a segmented body consisting of a head, thorax, and abdomen that appear to be created from armored plates. Pillbugs have seven pairs of legs.

Isopods must shed their exoskeletons in order to grow. They'll shed their outer skin about twelve times during their lifetime. During this shedding process, pillbugs will hide because they are more vulnerable to enemies without their "armor".


Pillbugs prefer dark, moist areas. They can be found under rocks, along the foundation of homes in the soil, in decaying vegetation or wood outdoors, or sometimes in basements. They don't wander around much during the day in order to avoid the light. Piles of mulch, leaves, and grass clippings is often the perfect environment for pillbugs to live. If pillbugs get in doors, they will stay in the basement or find their way into bathrooms and kitchens to be near water.


Pillbugs tend to feed on decaying matter, cardboard, and vegetables – and their own fecal waste. Pillbugs need the mineral copper to survive, and they get enough of it through the consistent recycling of the mineral when they eat their own fecal matter.


Pillbugs and sowbugs are similar but are not the same. Sowbugs are also closely related to the crustaceans of the sea and prefer moist, outdoor environments. Neither the pillbug or sowbug bites, transmits diseases, or infest food or wood. Pillbugs have no posterior appendages while sowbugs have two appendages that resemble tails coming out of their rear ends. When pillbugs are disturbed they roll up into a tight ball for defense.


Because pillbugs do not transmit diseases, bite, or sting, they are not considered dangerous. Pillbugs do not cause structural damage to your property, either, so they aren't considered damaging pests. They are more of a nuisance than anything else and can appear in your home in large numbers.


If you're finding pillbugs in your home, call Innovative Pest Control for pillbug extermination services. With our comprehensive home pest control plans, we can eliminate your current infestation and help you prevent future infestations by properly sealing your home's entry points.


The first step in preventing pillbugs from getting into your home is to clean up the exterior and reduce moisture sources:

  • Remove all debris, grass clippings, leaves, mulch, stones, and other items laying near your foundation that pillbugs could use as harborage sites; don't provide pillbugs with a place to hide near your home and they won't seek entry inside your home.
  • Divert water away from your foundation with gutters and downspouts.
  • Fix any leaking faucets to eliminate as much moisture as possible from the outside and inside of your home.
  • Seal all cracks and openings in your foundation wall, around doors and basement windows and make sure you have doors weeps on all outside doors.

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