House is infested by rolly-pollies – what can I do to stop them?

Question: My side of my house is being infested by “rolly-pollies”. Is there anything you can do to stop them from coming into my house?

 

ANSWER  Sowbugs or pillbugs (rolly pollys) are not actually insects. They are related to crayfish. There is a slight difference between sowbugs and pillbugs: sowbugs cannot roll up into a ball when disturbed, and pillbugs can.

They both live and breed in moist, decaying organic material and are usually found in areas around the perimeter of houses. A favorite location is under the bottom logs of the woodpile, under potted plants, or in wet mulch.
These animals usually remain outside, but may come inside when their habitat become too wet or even too dry. They enter under doors and around ground-level windows. They don’t reproduce in houses or basements because it is too dry and there is no food there for them. They are usually found dead just inside the door they have entered. This is often the case when the habitat is very dry, and they can not find a protected and humid harborage.

My guess is that your house has something favorable for them…thick mulch, leaves, moisture…if you reduce these, there should be fewer rolly pollys. Stack firewood up on a rack and move it away from the house. Rake mulch and dead leaves away from the foundation. Check exterior doors to be sure they close tightly. Replace any missing weather-stripping. Mke sure down spouts drain away from the foundation.


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