What Are Sow Bugs and Pill Bugs?
Sow bugs and pill bugs aren’t really bugs at all! In fact, they are types of woodlice, an isopod crustacean, which means they’re more closely related to shrimp. They are the only type of crustacean that has developed the ability to live on land! They also breathe through gills, so they need lots of moisture in their habitats.
These woodlice have lots of common names, such as armadillo bugs, pill bugs, sow bugs, roly-polys, roll up bugs, chuggy pigs, wood bugs, doodlebugs, potato bugs, slaters, gramer sows, butcher boys, boat builders, carpenter bugs, and cheese logs. There are numerous types of woodlice. While sow bugs and pill bugs are two of the most common types, however, they are not the same. All woodlice have jointed exoskeletons that look a bit like armor. Pill bugs, though, are aptly named because they tend to roll up into a sphere when feeling threatened. Most other woodlice, sow bugs included, cannot fold themselves up for protection and must rely on their hard exoskeleton to provide a barrier between their soft interior and predators. Both pill bugs and sow bugs have a hard, ridged, and plated exoskeleton, but pill bugs' shells are U-shaped with rounded edges to make it easier for them to roll into their pill shape. Sow bugs have flat, pointed ends to their body segments, fourteen legs, small round heads, and jointed antennae.
Pill bugs and sow bugs like to inhabit moist dark areas with dead, decomposing plant material to eat, but they have been known to eat seedlings and seeds off of fruits and vegetables.
Are Sow Bugs or Pill Bugs Harmful to Humans or Houses?
Sow bugs and pill bugs do not pinch, bite, or sting. They also don’t eat wood, contrary to their family name of “woodlouse.” Usually if you’re seeing sow bugs or pill bugs within your home, it means your garden or yard outside is ripe with the perfect food and habitat for these pests and they have just accidentally wandered indoors. It also could mean that there is too much decomposing material close to your home. Luckily, pill bugs and sow bugs are not much to worry about as they will quickly die indoors due to a lack of moisture. However, if you notice they are thriving in your home or living in parts of your home where there’s a lot of wood, this may be a sign of wet interior wood. Unfortunately, sow bugs and pill bugs thrive in moist areas of your home and seeing a thriving population indoors could spell bigger problems than just an infestation of sow and pill bugs.
How to Prevent and Get Rid of Sow Bugs and Pill Bugs
You can always do preventative maintenance to your home to reduce the chances of pill bugs and sow bugs coming into your home. This includes patching any leaks from pipes that might be causing damp areas inside your house and caulking windows and doors. Make sure the foundation of your home isn't covered with decaying rotting plants, and leave a five inch barrier around the foundation of your home where there are no dead leaves, shady bushes, or garden mulch.
If you already have an infestation of sow bugs and pill bugs inside of your home, you will need to de-humidify your home, as well as clean up any piles of wet, organic material the sow bugs and pill bugs might be nesting and feeding upon. You can usually find them living in things like wet boxes, newspapers, or leaves inside of your basement or garage. If you clean your home and reduce this type of clutter, you can prevent future generations of sow bugs and pill bugs from setting up shop in your home.
If you can’t seem to get rid of the sow bugs or pill bugs, you will want to call a pest control professional.
Sow Bug Infestations and Home Warranties
If you have a home warranty plan through Landmark that includes pest control, you can get rid of a sow bug or pill bug infestation in your home. All you have to do is call Landmark to open up a service request, pay a small service call fee of $60-$100, and then a pest control specialist will come to your home and help you reduce your sow bug and pill bug infestation. They will most likely spray around your foundation, under siding, in utility openings, and any place where moist habitats can breed hiding grounds for sow bugs and pill bugs. For more information on this pest control service, you can compare Landmark’s pest control plans here. You can also take a look at information about other pests Landmark’s pest control plans cover by going to www.landmarkhw.com/resources/pest-control.