Pill Bugs AKA Roly-Polies

Thursday, March 28th, 2024 by Bill Cowley

Pill Bugs AKA Roly-Polies - Image 1


Pill bugs are crustaceans that are oval in shape, range in length from about 1/4 inch to 5/8 inch, and are usually gray in color. They have 14 legs in seven pairs, small heads & abdomens, and thoraxes divided into seven overlapping plates. When disturbed, they can roll up into a tiny ball, which is why many people refer to them as roly-polies.

They're nocturnal and can be found in dark, humid places such as under fallen leaves, rocks, logs, or in this case, underneath a rodent bait station! They prefer soil with sowbugs, milipedes, and earthworms and are scavengers and feed mainly on organic decaying matter. Pill bugs don't sting, bite, or carry any harmful diseases. They don't damage house hold or deposit eggs indoors. They may, however, damage the roots of plants when feeding. Pill bugs rarely live indoors (as it's too dry for them) and will die after coming inside.

The best way to prevent pill bugs from harboring around your home is to reduce the moisture around your property. You can achieve this by following these helpful tips:

  1. Mulch in flowerbeds should be no deeper then 2 in. Homeowners should pull mulch away from the home’s foundation. A “dry zone” of 6 to 12 inches around the foundation will discourage pill bugs and other pests.
  2. Stack firewood off the ground. It should be as far away from the house as possible.
  3. Flowerpots should be on racks or stands off the ground.
  4. Gutters and downspouts should drain away from the foundation.
  5. It may be necessary to trim tree limbs if they cause a damp shady area near the home.
  6. Crawl space vents should be unblocked to allow air circulation. This can reduce dampness. Very damp basements may require a dehumidifier.

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