Pill bugs, also known as rollie-pollies, are a type of terrestrial crustacean that can infest homes and gardens. Here are four things that homeowners need to know about these pests.
How do you identify them?
Pill bugs can reach lengths of 0.75 inches long and are dark brown or black. They have hard plates on their backs, and while these plates are reminiscent of armadillos, the two creatures aren't related. They have seven pairs of legs. Pill bugs have the ability to roll their bodies into a ball when they are threatened
Where are they found?
Pill bugs have a very large range; you can find them anywhere in the United States. They prefer to make their homes in dark, moist places, so indoors, you may find them in your basement, laundry room, or bathrooms. Outdoors, you may find them beneath the soil in your garden or hidden beneath piles of leaves or other plant matter.
Why are they pests?
Indoors, pill bugs are pests because of their unsettling appearance, not because they're actually dangerous. They don't spread any diseases and they won't get into the food in your kitchen. Outdoors, they can cause damage to your garden. Pill bugs will eat plant matter that is in contact with the soil like roots or seedlings, so if you have pill bugs in your garden, your plants may die. They also eat fruits and vegetables, so trying to grow a vegetable garden when pill bugs are present is difficult.
How can you control them?
You can reduce the number of pill bugs in your home and garden by getting rid of the two things that attract them: moisture and decaying plants. Indoors, fix leaky pipes, mop up spills quickly, and use a dehumidifier. Outdoors, water your garden in the morning so that the soil will be dry by the time the pill bugs are active at night. Raised beds or flower pots can help to protect your plants by keeping them out of reach of the pill bugs. Remove plant clippings or dead leaves from your garden immediately.
You can also use residual insecticides to kill pill bugs. Spray these insecticides around the perimeter of your house to keep pill bugs from coming inside, and around the perimeter of your garden as well. Make sure to follow all of the safety directions on the package so that you only hurt pill bugs, not yourself or your pets.
Pill bugs are annoying indoors and serious pests outdoors, but fortunately, you can get rid of them. If you're having trouble controlling them by yourself, contact a pest control company like Chem-Wise Ecological Pest Management Services right away.