Pestgon Fact Sheet
“ If they fly they die…if they crawl they fall”

PILLBUGS & SOWBUGS: (Order Isopoda)

Pill bugs are commonly called “roly-polies”. These are not an insect but a crustacean. They are about one quarter to five eights of an inch long. They are recognized by their characteristic, jointed, armor-like surface, like an armadillo. They are metallic gray in color and when touched, they roll up in to a tight ball. Sow bugs look very much the same and can roll up in to a loose ball when touched, thus, the common name, “roly-polie”. Both have seven pairs of legs and two short tail appendages.

Pill bugs and sow bugs are confined to areas of high moisture but will travel on dry ground a hundred feet or more. They enter buildings via the threshold or ground-level sliding glass doors. They are mostly nocturnal travelers. Occasionally these pests will enter a building in large numbers. Once inside they create an unsightly nuisance and soon die for lack of moisture.

Economic Impact:
Though not considered a serious economic threat, as with any other unsightly pest their visible presence is undesirable in and around buildings. Pill bugs and sow bugs are scavengers of decaying plant materials but can damage the roots of tender plants, thus stunting their growth.
Also, no one likes stepping on, and squishing, these creatures on the walkways and entries of a building.

Management Methods:
The key to controlling pill bugs and sow bugs is to eliminate the moist areas outside the building that, make their presence and survival possible. In highly irrigated ground covers this is not always possible, so in cooperation with the landscape maintenance personnel, placement of properly labeled baits and micro-encapsulated insecticides are the method of choice.