Sow bugs are gray in colour, oval-shaped and about 1/2 to 3/4 inches in length. They live in dark and damp areas such as under logs, wood chips, mulch, rocks, crawl spaces, and damp basements. A large number of sow bugs may appear when you try to tend to the garden and disturb the soil.
Although sow bugs are generally not destructive, they will readily move into window frames and doorways and under slabs that accumulate moisture due to condensation or leaks. This moisture causes algae, mould, and mildew to grow, which is exactly what sow bugs feed on.
Established sow bug colonies will move inside your home when the level of moisture is excessively high or to find respite from either heat or cold. Sow bugs bear young at least two times a year and take care of them until the young can keep up with the entire colony.
Though the young sow bugs may leave their mother occasionally, it’s not unusual for them to return. As the food supply diminishes, colonies will move to another place and hunt in nearby areas that meet their dietary needs. They mostly feed at night and because of their behaviour traits, they are usually called water bugs.
Tips to Control a Sowbug Infestation
1. Sow bug pest control must be done in a 2-phase format.
The first step is identifying moisture problems. Fix leaky windows and all parts of your house that have bad caulking. Constant water supply will allow algae and mould to grow and eliminate the overall impact of chemical treatments.
The moisture will actually allow sow bugs to be present at all times and the ones you managed to eliminate will be immediately replaced by new ones seeking food and shelter.
In case the local conditions are okay but there are a lot of wood chips, pine straw, mulch, leaf litter or grass clippings around the perimeter of your home, the activity will just continue.
2. Get rid of any debris in your garden.
Remove wooden planks, bricks, dead plant matter, or anything that provides sowbugs and pillbugs with a place to hide.
Pay attention to debris against or near the foundation walls as this spot often holds moisture. Remove sow bugs and pill bug near the foundation to prevent them from entering the house through cracks and crevices.
Seal cracks and all entry points in exterior foundational walls. Sealing gaps around windows and doors can also make your house feel warmer and help you save 10% to 15% on your utility bills.
3. Most sow bugs move by themselves once the debris is eliminated, but you can also remove them by hand.
Sow bugs can be moved to a compost pile as they help in breaking down organic matter. This solution is better than killing them.
4. You can also put a small amount of diatomaceous earth around emerging and new seedlings.
This will help keep sow bugs away from the plants in your garden. A cantaloupe can also be placed open side down in order to lure them away from your home. You can then move it to the compost pile.
5. Pick up fruits that are rotting on the ground or dropped from trees
This will keep sow bugs from being attracted in orchard areas and in your garden.You don’t have to use chemicals to get rid of sow bugs. They occasionally eat young plants, but they don’t bite and aren’t dangerous to people. After eliminating moisture, getting rid of sow bugs using other methods isn’t necessary.