Sowbugs & Pillbugs

Sowbugs & Pillbugs

Sowbugs and Pillbugs

Treatments for this pest are included in these services:

The woodlouse—commonly referred to as a sowbug or a pillbug—is not actually an insect but rather a land-dwelling crustacean. Woodlice have shell-like exoskeletons that shed as they grow. The pillbug in particular is nicknamed a “roly-poly” because of how it rolls up into a ball.

How to Identify Sowbugs vs. Pillbugs

Despite “sowbug” and “pillbug” often being interchangeable, they do have a couple of differences. For one, sowbugs have two tail-like appendages protruding from the end of their bodies, while pillbugs do not have this feature. When disturbed, the pillbug will roll itself into a tight ball until they sense safety again. Fittingly, pillbugs also have more rounded backs and more closely resemble the shape of a pill.

What Do Sowbugs and Pillbugs Look Like?

Otherwise, pillbugs and sowbugs look and behave almost identically. Identifying characteristics of both bugs include:

  • 1/4 to 1/2 inch long
  • Segmented bodies
  • Seven pairs of jointed legs
  • Color ranging from silver to dark, slate gray

Where Can I Find Sowbugs and Pillbugs?

Woodlice are typically found in terrestrial environments, but they need constant moisture due to rapid water loss through their cuticles. They may usually be found in damp, dark conditions and crevices. Look for them under rocks and logs, for example.

How Do Sowbugs and Pillbugs Behave?

Sowbugs and pillbugs are actually very beneficial in gardens because of their role in pest control. They also produce compost and overturn the soil. However, they have been known to eat ripening strawberries and tender seedlings of other cultivated plants. When woodlice invade homes, it is usually in search of moisture. They are not serious household pests, though; pillbugs and sowbugs neither spread disease nor cause damage to wooden structures.

How to Prevent Sowbugs and Pillbugs

Although woodlice are friendly (and even fun to play with), encountering them in your home often indicates there is dampness drawing them inside. Whether it’s your crawlspace, basement, or overwatered plants, a sowbug or pillbug presence should be investigated.

Some preventative measures you can take to make your building less attractive to sowbugs and pillbugs include:

  • Reduce humidity and moisture indoors with proper ventilation (stove hood fans, bathroom fans, dryer vents leading outdoors, etc.).
  • Make sure your attic, basement, and crawlspace are well-ventilated.
  • Maintain, clean, and repair downspouts and gutters.
  • Seal cracks, crevices, and other openings on the inside and outside of the building using caulk.
  • Weather-strip doors and windows, especially at the ground level.

Insect Control Solutions in WA, OR, and ID from PURCOR

If you’re experiencing an infestation of sowbugs or pillbugs, get in touch with your local pest control provider for an inspection. At PURCOR, our service specialists are trained to identify all kinds of pests in the Northwest and conditions contributing to their presence. Contact us today to request a pest control quote!

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