If they fly they die…if they crawl they fall”
PILLBUGS & SOWBUGS:
Pill bugs are commonly called “roly-polies”. These are not an insect
but a crustacean. They are about one quarter to five eights of an inch long.
They are recognized by their characteristic, jointed, armor-like surface, like
an armadillo. They are metallic gray in color and when touched, they roll up
in to a tight ball. Sow bugs look very much the same and can roll up in to
a loose ball when touched, thus, the common name, “roly-polie”.
Both have seven pairs of legs and two short tail appendages.
Pill bugs and sow bugs are confined to areas of high moisture but will travel
on dry ground a hundred feet or more. They enter buildings via the threshold
or ground-level sliding glass doors. They are mostly nocturnal travelers. Occasionally
these pests will enter a building in large numbers. Once inside they create
an unsightly nuisance and soon die for lack of moisture.
Though not considered a serious economic threat, as with any other unsightly
pest their visible presence is undesirable in and around buildings. Pill bugs
and sow bugs are scavengers of decaying plant materials but can damage the
roots of tender plants, thus stunting their growth.
Also, no one likes stepping on, and squishing, these creatures on the walkways
and entries of a building.
The key to controlling pill bugs and sow bugs is to eliminate the moist areas
outside the building that, make their presence and survival possible. In highly
irrigated ground covers this is not always possible, so in cooperation with
the landscape maintenance personnel, placement of properly labeled baits and
micro-encapsulated insecticides are the method of choice.