Treatments for Sow Bug Infestation

Pillbugs and sowbugs feed mainly on rotting organic matter. They don’t bite, sting, spread diseases, or infest clothing, wood, or food. Sow bugs can’t roll up into a ball as pill bugs can. They have two tail-like appendages that pill bugs don’t have.

Sow bugs thrive in damp areas and occasionally consume young plants. They tend to hide under mulch, leaf litter, boards, compost, flowerpot, and stones. They also often hide behind the grass edge beside foundations and sidewalks.

Pill bugs and sow bug may leave their habitat at night and travel to patios, foundations, and sidewalks. They frequently invade first floors of buildings at ground level and crawl spaces. Don’t be surprised to see sow bugs invading damp basements. They may enter buildings through the crack and crevice of concrete block walls, expansion joints, or door thresholds.

If you often see them inside your house, it usually means that there are large numbers of them outside. They are breeding near the foundation of your house. Pill bugs and sow bugs need moisture. Unless there’s a damp or moist area, they won’t survive inside your home for more than a few days.

DIY Treatments You Can Do to Control an Infestation

The sight of sow bugs infesting your home can only be treated with continuous and thorough methods that can prevent the infestation from getting worse. Some of the things you can do are:

·         Remove Debris

Mulch, boxes, leaves, stones, grass clippings, and other things lying on the ground alongside the foundation must be removed as these areas often harbour and attract pill bugs and sow bugs. Items that can’t be removed must be lifted off the ground. 

·         Fix Moisture Problems

Minimize hiding places and moisture problems near the foundation. This is the most efficient, long-term strategy that you can implement to reduce the chances of sow bugs and pill bugs from entering.

Don’t let water accumulate in the crawl space or near the foundation. Divert water away from the foundation walls with properly working splash blocks, gutters, and downspouts.

Repair leaking water pipes, air conditioning units, and faucets. Adjust lawn sprinklers to reduce pooling of water near the foundation. If your home has poor drainage, you may need to install drains or tiles.

Reduce humidity in basements and crawl spaces by installing polyethylene soil covers or sump pumps and by ensuring sufficient ventilation. 

·         Seal Cracks and All Entry Points

Seal openings and cracks around the bottom of doors and windows and in the outside foundation walls. Install tight-fitting door thresholds or sweeps at the base of exterior entry doors.

Apply caulk along the sides of the door, threshold and bottom outside edge. You should also seal expansion gaps and joints along the base of basement walls to reduce moisture and entry of pests from outdoors.

·         Use Insecticides

You may apply insecticides along with interior living areas and baseboards, but it’s not very effective in controlling sow bugs and pill bugs. Pests that end up in living rooms and kitchen soon die due to lack of moisture. You only need to remove them with a vacuum or broom.

For a large sowbug infestation, you can apply insecticides outdoors, around the entrances of crawl spaces, utility openings and foundation vents, up underneath siding or along the bottom of all exterior doors. This may help lessen inward migration of these pests.

Rake heavy buildup of leaf litter and mulch to expose sow bugs and other pests. You can apply insecticide along foundation walls in unfinished basements and damp crawl spaces.

Different insecticides in garden and lawn or hardware shops are effective. You can use a hose end sprayer or compressed air to apply insecticides.

Some products might be prohibited in your country or state. Check with your regulatory official or local county official before using any insecticide.