Sowbugs, also known as rollie-pollies, are crustaceans that have adapted to life away from water. They are closely related to shrimps, crabs and lobsters.
Sowbugs are good guys to have in the garden. They aren’t picky about what they eat and they break down decaying plant matter and recycle nutrients in the soil. Small numbers should be tolerated. However, things aren’t so rosy when large populations of sowbugs eat garden veggies and young plants, or worse yet – when they find their way into your house.
When sowbugs come indoors
Sowbugs are found in damp basements, crawl spaces, laundry rooms and other moist areas. They are harmless and they die quickly, so just sweep them up. If this isn’t a viable solution, control sowbugs with disposable sticky traps.
The best way to deal with sowbugs in the house is to keep them out in the first place. Use a dehumidifier or fan to create drier conditions. Caulk around window and doors. Seal cracks and openings where sowbugs can enter.
- Chemicals aren’t recommended unless sowbugs are causing serious problems. In that case, you can use a multi-purpose insect killer around the foundation and perimeter of your house. Be sure the product is registered for use against sowbugs.
- Apply the insecticide on the bottom of exterior doors, around vents and crawl space openings, and underneath siding. If you have mulch around the perimeter of your house, rake it out of the way before applying pesticides.
- You can also sprinkle slug and snail pellets around boards, flower pots and other places where sowbugs congregate. Use non-toxic slug and snail bait if your garden is accessible by children, pets or wildlife.