Sowbug and Pillbug

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Pillbugs can be distinguished from sowbugs because pillbugs are able to roll up into a ball when alarmed and lack the two prominent tail-like appendages that characterize sowbugs.

Fast Facts

Color Dark gray.
Size 1/4 – 5/8″ long.
Appearance The oval, humpbacked crustaceans appear to be covered with segmented armor and have seven pairs of similar legs.

Sowbug extermination, control and removal services in Wisconsin by Batzner Pest Control
Sowbug

Pillbug extermination, control and removal by Batzner Pest Control in Wisconsin
Pillbug

Diet

Pillbugs mostly eat decomposing vegetation including, vegetables, fruits, plants, grasses and weeds.

Habitat

They are commonly found in moist settings beneath stones, boards, and piles of plant material. If inside, they invade basements and crawlspaces where moisture levels are higher than other places in the home.

Life Cycle

Female pillbugs and sowbugs carry their eggs in a “brood pouch”, or marsupium, where the young hatch in about 45 days. There are 24 to 28 eggs in each brood and one to three broods produced each year. The young molt every one to two weeks until they become adults which live for about two years.

Damage

They cause no damage but are considered a nuisance.

Prevention & Control

Sowbug & Pillbug Prevention

The best course of action to stop pillbugs and sowbugs from entering the home is to take preventative measures. Entry into buildings should be protected by sealing and caulking gaps around siding, windows, doors, pipes, and wires. Large numbers in homes can be controlled by vacuuming.

Sowbug & Pillbug Control

Pillbugs and sowbugs are best controlled by eliminating the moist environment that initially attracts them. Piles of organic matter, dense ground cover near foundations, or ground level windows, boards, stones, flower pots, firewood, and other materials resting on the ground serve as food sources and harborage areas. They should be removed or modified to reduce the pillbug or sowbug population.

For large-scale pillbug or sowbug infestations, count on a professional pest management service to take care of the problem knowledgeably and successfully.