How to Keep Pill Bugs Away

Sowbugs and pillbugs occasionally enter buildings homes, but they survive better outside. They love damp or wet areas like under rocks.

Pill bugs and sow bugs are crustaceans and the only ones that have completely adapted to living on land. Due to this, they look more like lobsters or crayfish than insects. They look similar as well.

Both of them have seven pairs of legs and two pairs of antennae. One pair of antennae can’t be easily seen. They have rounded bodies that are 1/4" to 1/2" long.

The bottom part of the body is concave, while the top part is convex. They can be white or dark grey in colour or may be patterned or solid coloured.

Pill bugs and sow bugs have differences as well. The segmented body of pill bugs allows them to roll up into a small ball where its name comes from.

Pill bugs are also called roly polies or pill. Sow bugs, on the other hand, cannot roll into a ball. They have two appendages that look like a tail and extend from the rear end of their bodies.

How Can You Keep Pill Bugs Away?

·         Reduce Moisture

Pill bugs can’t survive when there’s no moisture, so eliminating or repairing any area in your home that is damp or wet will prevent these pests from reproducing or surviving. These areas include damp basements, cracks and openings, foundation wall and leaky pipes. The water should flow away from your home instead of pooling near the foundation.

·         Exclusion

Building pill bugs out is one of the best ways to prevent them from invading your home. You have to seal cracks, gaps, and crevices around vents, windows, wires, cables and doors and in the foundation.

Screens should be repaired and maintained. You should also keep windows and doors shut. Pay special attention to ground level areas because this is where pill bugs often enter.

·         Sanitation

Large numbers of pill bugs can cause problems in your garden and landscape. Since they eat organic matter, they will look for areas where they can find food.

·         Diatomaceous Earth and Sand

Diatomaceous earth and sand can help keep pill bugs away. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the perimeter of your home. Diatomaceous earth damages the cuticles of pill bugs.

The crustaceans become dehydrated and die. Pill bugs don’t like dry areas, so you should pour sand around your home to keep these pests away.

·         Traps and Pesticides

There are commercial pesticides that work against these bugs. If used properly at the right time of year, spray pesticides will last long enough to hold off pill bugs until the cold season kills them.

You can also use insecticide dust or powder to make a barrier against pill bugs. These products last longer than spray pesticides. Commercial insect traps like glue traps catch these crustaceans and kill them through dehydration and starvation.

·         Get Rid of Plant Debris

Mulches and plants should be kept half a foot away from the foundation or walls of your house. Doing so prevents bugs from becoming attracted to the area.

You can also get natural predators such as a small newt or small toad. They will hunt bugs at night and reduce the number of these pests.

Understanding Their Habits

Pill bugs require moisture to survive. Their lifespan is three years in the best conditions. They are usually found outside the house beneath boards, leaf litter, stones, and other things lying on damp ground.

You may occasionally see these crustaceans entering buildings and homes at ground level, in crawl spaces, damp basements or other entry points. Pill bugs will only survive if there’s moisture in the area. They generally come out only at night to look for food, unless their habitat is disturbed.

Pill bugs are scavengers and feed on decomposing organic matter like logs and leaves. They may eat young plants as well. Pill bugs don’t cause any harm to people, but they can damage seedlings and plants with their feeding.