Pill Bug Identification & Prevention

Despite their name, pill bugs are not bugs at all but are a type of crustacean. Pill bugs are the only crustacean that spends its entire life living on land.

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Adult pill bugs grow to be about 3/4 of an inch in length and are dark brown to black. They have seven pairs of legs and seven distinct hard plates covering their bodies. Pill bugs are also referred to as “rollie-pollies” because of their ability to curl themselves up into a tight ball when they are bothered.

Biology and Behavior

pill bugs in a big clump
  • Pill bugs live in areas with a lot of moisture because their bodies can't hold water.
  • You can find pill bugs living under mulch, firewood piles, landscape timbers, trash/recycling cans, and flowerpots.
  • Pill bugs are nocturnal.
  • They are scavengers and feed on decaying plant materials, young plants, and sometimes decaying animal materials.
  • Inside homes, pill bugs are nuisance pests because they do not bite or carry any diseases that affect people.
  • Pill bugs often get into homes through spaces found at the bottom of doors, gaps around utility entrances, and spaces in the foundation.

Pill Bug Prevention Tips

  • Place a barrier between the foundation of your home and any mulch found in flower and garden beds.
  • Keep firewood off the ground on pallets; store it a distance away from the outside of your house.
  • Keep flowerpots off the ground; inspect the flowerpot’s underside before bringing them inside.
  • Make sure that gutters are working to direct water away from the outside of your house.
  • Install door sweeps on all exterior doors; seal cracks found in the foundation.
  • Use dehumidifiers in the damp areas of your home to reduce moisture levels.

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Helpful Articles About Pill Bugs

What To Do About Pill Bugs In Indiana

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