Food Sources of Sow Bugs

Just so you know, sow bugs are not really considered as bugs as what their name implies. The truth is that sow bug belongs to the family of woodlice, a type of isopod crustacean. This means that sowbugs may be closely related to lobsters, shrimp, and crayfish.

They happen to be the only form of crustacean with the ability to lead a life on land. But in spite of having adapted to living on land, they still use their gills to breathe, which is why they thrive in habitats with lots of moisture.

These woodlice are known in many common names including roly polies, armadillo bugs; roll up bugs, wood bugs, chuggy pigs, potato bugs, doodlebugs, gramer sows, slaters, boat builders, butcher boys, cheese logs, and carpenter bugs.

What Do Sowbugs Eat?

Sow bug feeds on decaying plant materials. Every now and then, they can also feed on new roots, seedlings, as well as plant leaves that lay closer to ground level. They also feed on decaying fruits and vegetables that are found on the ground.

Since these woodlice eat decaying vegetable matter and leaf litter, they are among the best recyclers in nature. They can break up the decaying plant matter, thus speeding the return of nutrients back to the ecosystem. Occasionally, sowbugs may also feed on seedlings and tender transplants.

They will chew on those strawberry fruits that lay on the damp ground as well. However, they don’t inflict severe damage. In addition, they can turn the soil that can help in soil aeration. This aids plant roots as a result.

Moist outdoor environments can offer pretty much anything sowbugs need to sustain their diets. These pests can feed on decomposing grass clippings, compost and mulch, wet leaves, fungi and algae, and moss.

As they feed on organic matter, sowbugs can be considered as omnivores. And while they can cause some damages, it is less likely for them to kill large numbers of flora.

To ensure that they don’t become food themselves, sowbugs can roll up to a protective ball when disturbed. They also secrete chemicals in order to ward off potential predators. Being nocturnal, they also avoid daytime predators. The life cycle of sow bugs in the wild can last from two to 3 years.


Sowbugs and pill bugs live in all kinds of aquatic habitats. The freshwater isopods can be found primarily along bottoms of streams, springs, lakes, and ponds, and are also recorded to live in depths of up to 55 meters. They are also closely found near aquatic plants or substrate that provides shelter.

Sowbugs are also often found in places with high humidity like under logs or rocks, in cracks of rocks, in piles of leaves, or even in damp basements. They tend to avoid dry or well-lit areas.

How to Eliminate Sowbugs

Controlling sow bugs start with clearing up garden debris. Rake up and get rid of dead plant matter, wooden plants, bricks, and other things that can give them a protected spot for hiding in your garden. Make sure you pay close attention to debris against or near the foundation because this is usually the spot that can hold moisture.

Get rid of sow bug close to the foundation to prevent them from getting inside your house through crevices and cracks. Seal problem openings in the foundations. There is no need for chemicals to get rid of sow bugs.

Although sow bug in your garden will feed on the tender plant material on occasion, they don’t bite and don’t pose harm to people. After taking out moisture from the equation, it is no longer necessary to kill these woodlice using other methods.