Sow bugs and pill bugs range in size from 1/4 to 1/2 inch long.
Dark gray to slate. Sow bugs and pill bugs are similar-looking pests which are more closely akin to shrimp and crayfish than to insects
Sow bugs and pill bugs are scavengers and feed mainly on decaying organic matter. They occasionally feed on young plants but the damage inflicted is seldom significant. Sow bugs and pill bugs thrive only in areas of high moisture, and tend to remain hidden under objects during the day. Around buildings they are common under mulch, compost, boards, stones, flower pots, and other items resting on damp ground. Another frequent hiding place is behind the grass edge adjoining sidewalks and foundations.
The Pill bug are often called roly-poly's because they will roll up on a tight ball when disturbed and are not insects but land dwelling crustaceans.
Sow bugs and pill bugs may leave their natural habitats at night, and crawl about over sidewalks, patios, and foundations. They often invade crawl spaces, damp basements and first floors of houses at ground level. Common points of entry into buildings include door thresholds (especially at the base of sliding glass doors), expansion joints, and through the voids of concrete block walls. Frequent sightings of these pests indoors usually means that there are large numbers breeding on the outside, close to the foundation. Since sow bugs and pill bugs require moisture, they do not survive indoors for more than a few days unless there are very moist or damp conditions.
Both pill bugs and sow bugs feed on decaying vegetable matter and are found under mulch, vegetable debris, or other objects on damp ground.
Pill bug or Roly Poly Prevention Tips
Minimize Moisture, Remove Debris:
The most effective, long-term measure for reducing indoor entry of these pests is to minimize moisture and hiding places near the foundation. Leaves, grass clippings, heavy accumulations of mulch, boards, stones, boxes, and similar items laying on the ground beside the foundation should be removed, since these often attract and harbor sow bugs and pill bugs. Items that cannot be removed should be elevated off the ground
Don’t allow water to accumulate near the foundation or in the crawl space. Water should be diverted away from the foundation wall with properly functioning gutters, down spouts and splash blocks. Leaking faucets, water pipes and air conditioning units should be repaired, and lawn sprinklers should be adjusted to minimize puddling near the foundation. Homes with poor drainage may need to have tiles or drains installed, or the ground sloped to so that surface water drains away from the building. Humidity in crawl spaces and basements should be reduced by providing adequate ventilation, sump pumps, polyethylene soil covers, etc.
Seal Pest Entry Points:
Seal cracks and openings in the outside foundation wall, and around the bottoms of doors and basement windows. Install tight-fitting door sweeps or thresholds at the base of all exterior entry doors, and apply caulk along the bottom outside edge and sides of door thresholds. Seal expansion joints where outdoor patios, sunrooms and sidewalks abut the foundation. Expansion joints and gaps should also be sealed along the bottom of basement walls on the interior, to reduce entry of pests and moisture from outdoors.
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