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Pill Bugs

Latin Name: Armadillidiidae

What Are Pill Bugs?

Pill Bugs are a land crustacean well-known for their armor-like skull. They are most commonly referred to as Rolly-Pollies because they will roll up into a ball, or a pill shape, to protect themselves when disturbed. These dark brown or black bugs are usually around ¾ inch long and ovular in shape.

Fun Facts About Roly Poly Bugs

Pill bugs go through incomplete metamorphosis, which means they only advance through the egg, nymph, and adult forms throughout their life. The eggs are carried in the mother's marsupium and typically hatch after 3 to 4 weeks. After hatching, the nymphs will stay in the marsupium for two more weeks, feeding from the mother before entering the world. Throughout the nymph's development, they will typically molt every 1 to 2 weeks for five months. They will fully develop their seven pairs of legs and two antennas throughout this time. Once they reach adulthood, they can live for 2 to 5 years.

What do Pill Bugs Eat?

Pill bugs thrive in damp environments, preferring to make their main habitat in mulch, fallen leaves, or under rocks. They typically stay in an area with organic materials, as this is their main food source, aiding in decomposition. Pill bugs are nocturnal and need humid, dark environments to live in. During the day, they can often be found under wooded areas in the soil, which is why they are sometimes referred to as woodlice. In areas with significant rain and damp soil, pill bugs can cause crop damage by feeding on plants such as strawberries, potatoes, spinach, and lettuce. If you notice plant damage that appears to be from pests, a pest control expert can help determine if you have a pest infestation in your garden.

How do I Get Rid of Roly Poly Bugs?

Prevention is the best method for taking care of pill bugs. Avoiding overwatering plants and ensuring no dead plant material is left on the ground will take away the primary motivation for a pill bug to stay in the area. Ensuring floor cracks and door entries are sealed will prevent pill bugs from entering your home. Insecticide bait and other chemical formulations can deter pill bugs from residing in your yard or home. A professional exterminator can help develop a personalized plan to prevent pill bugs in and around your home.