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Pill Bug Facts & Information

Protect your home or business from pill bugs by learning techniques for identification and control.

Pill bug illustration
Armadillidium vulgare (Latreille)

Pill Bug Treatment

How do I get rid of pill bugs?

What You Can Do

The first step in preventing pill bugs is reducing the moisture around the home. Here are some tips to reducing moisture inside and around your home:

  • Mulch: Mulch in flowerbeds should be no deeper then 2 in. Homeowners should pull mulch away from the home’s foundation. A “dry zone” of 6 to 12 inches around the foundation will discourage pill bugs and other pests.

  • Wood: Stack firewood off the ground. It should be as far away from the house as possible.

  • Plants: Flowerpots should be on racks or stands off the ground.

  • Gutters: Gutters and downspouts should drain away from the foundation.

  • Trees: It may be necessary to trim tree limbs if they cause a damp shady area near the home.

  • Ventilation: Crawlspace vents should be unblocked to allow air circulation. This can reduce dampness. Very damp basements may require a dehumidifier.

Orkin Pill Bug Removal

Your local Orkin Pro is trained to help manage pill bugs and similar pests. Since every building or home is different, your Orkin Pro will design a unique program for your situation.

Orkin can provide the right solution to keep pill bugs in their place…out of your home, or business.

Call us877-819-5061
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Frequently Asked Questions

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Understanding Pill bugs

What do pill bugs look like?

  • Body: Oval shaped with an armor-like shell made of seven hard plates, seven pairs of legs, and two antennae.

  • Color: Coloring ranges from dark brown to black or gray.

  • Size: Pill bugs measure approximately 3/4" in length.

How many legs do pill bugs have?

Why are pill bugs called roly polies?

Pill bugs get their name from their habit of curling into a ball when they are disturbed. Some people call them “roly polies” for the same reason. Despite the name, pill bugs are not really bugs. They are land-dwelling crustaceans in the order Isopoda.

What do pill bugs eat?

Pill bugs are scavengers. They eat decaying plant material. They sometimes damage young plants and will also eat animal material if they find it.

Where do pill bugs live?

There are pill bugs throughout the world, and they usually live in areas where there is high moisture. Because their bodies do not hold water, they stay hidden during the day and are active at night. They commonly live under landscape timbers and flowerbed mulch. It is also common to find them under flowerpots and trashcans.

Pill Bugs vs. Sow Bugs

Sow bugs or pill bugs (roly polies) 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.

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