SOW BUGS

Or Is It A Rolly Polly?

 

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The Sow Bug (Rolly Polly)

Sow bugs are closely related to the pill bug, otherwise known as a roly poly. The major difference between sow bugs and pill bugs is that sow bugs cannot roll up into a tiny ball and pillbugs can. Sowbugs and pillbugs are not considered insects, as they are really crustaceans.  Sowbugs and pillbugs are the only crustaceans to have adapted to living their entire lives on land.  Sowbugs and pillbugs are so similar that many people confuse the two. Though not harmful to people, pets or physical property, an infestation is something you want to avoid.

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FAQ

Appearance

What do sowbugs look like?

Sowbugs are sometimes referred to as tiny armadillos because of their segmented bodies. Their body has seven hard plates much like the plates of an armadillo. The plates are used to protect the body. Sowbugs are interesting looking little creatures. Some features of a sowbug are:

  • ¼ to ½ inch in length
  • Oval shaped
  • Dark to slate gray
  • No wings
  • Two sets of antenna
  • Seven pairs of legs
  • Two tail like appendages
  • Seven hard plates cover the body

Habitat

Sowbug Habitat

Sowbugs are scavengers that feed on decaying organic material. Sowbugs prefer a dark, damp and cool environment so you will likely find them munching away in the mulch of your flowerbeds. Another name for a sowbug is woodlouse because they are often found under decaying wood like those last few pieces of firewood you have laying near your house. Some other places you might find a sowbug include:

  • Under rocks
  • Leaf litter
  • Compost
  • Flower pots
  • Boards
  • Other items left on the ground
  • Damp basements
  • Ground level floors of your home

Entry into your home or business

Sowbugs can easily gain access to your home or business.

Sowbugs are mostly found outdoors but will occasionally enter your home or business through any ground level crack it encounters. Sowbugs can enter through expansion joints, door thresholds and through a space in concrete block walls. If a sowbug makes its way into your home or business, the chances are pretty high that you have a sowbugs breeding in the flowerbeds or areas surrounding your home or business. Sowbugs will only live a few days once inside your home or business unless they can find a very moist environment necessary for their survival. Sowbugs cannot live in a dry environment.

Damage

Can Sowbugs Cause Damage To Your Home?

Sowbugs prefer to feed on decaying organic matter but will also feed on young plants. Sowbugs cannot bite you or your children. Sowbugs do not sting. Sowbugs are not poisonous. Sowbugs are not harmful to your family. If they make it inside your home, sowbugs will not eat your clothes. Sowbugs will not eat your food. Sowbugs will not eat your books. Sowbugs will likely not live long inside your warm, dry home. The damage to watch for with sowbugs is any recently sprouted plant in your flowerbed or garden because they will eat that tender vegetation.

Control and Safety

How To Control Sowbugs

There is not a safety concern with sowbugs since they are not poisonous and cannot bite or sting. They can be a nuisance if you continually find them in your home. Though sowbugs are nocturnal by nature, you might find one crawling along the wall of your home looking for a dark, damp and cool place to hide. You might find some dead sowbugs in the corners of your home or under items left on the floor. Because no one wants a ‘bug’ crawling around inside your home, you need to know how to get control of the sowbugs and keep them out. Prevention is key where sowbug control is concerned.

Prevention and Removal

How To Eliminate Sowbugs From Your Home

The best way to keep sowbugs out of your home is to prevent them from breeding near entry points.  Do not overwater your flowerbeds because wet mulch is a prime breeding ground for sowbugs. Do not leave dead or decaying plant leaves on the ground near the walls of your home because these can hold water and make a good home for sowbugs. You can use chemicals to try to control sowbugs yourself by using over the counter insecticides. These can include, bait, granular, dust and liquid pesticides. You can make sure sowbugs stay outside by sealing all ground level cracks in your home. If you do find yourself with a sowbugs inside your home, your best option is to contact a licensed pest control professional who has the knowledge of the sowbug life cycle and what is required to eradicate all the sowbugs from your home.

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Final Note

Sowbugs are not dangerous to you, your family or your pets. Sowbugs will more than likely die within a few day of entering your home because they will dry out without a moist habitat. You can just sweep it up, toss it and go about your day. You should know, though, that if you do find one in your home, chances are high that you have sowbugs breeding in some areas around your home. Sowbugs can damage your young vegetation by eating the tender shoots. To get control of a sowbug infestation, you will need to call a licensed pest control professional to safely and effectively eradicate your sowbug infestation.