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Pill Bugs Identification

Color Icon

Color: Dark brown to black

Size Icon

Size: 3/4"

Leg Icon

Legs: Seven pair

Antennae Icon

Antennae: Yes

Shape Icon

Shape: Oval; round when rolled up

Region Icon

Region: Found throughout U.S.

What are Pill Bugs?

The pill bug, sometimes referred to as "rollie pollies", is the only crustacean that has become completely adapted to spending its life on land. This pest earned its nickname due to the fact that the pill bug can roll up into a tight ball when disturbed. Pill bugs live around the world and Armadillidium vulgare is the most common species in the U.S. If you have an infestation, read below to find out how to get rid of pill bugs.

What Do Pill Bugs Look Like?

Pill bugs are between ¼-5/8 inches long and have seven pairs of legs and 2 pairs of antennae. Rollie pollies are usually slate gray in color. Their bodies are oval shaped and become round when they roll up. They are easily recognized by their back, which is made up of seven hard individual plates.

Pillbug Habits & Behavior

Pillbugs remain inactive under objects during the day in order to minimize water loss. They often stay under trash, boards, rocks, flower pots, piles of grass clippings, flowerbed mulches and other decaying vegetation. They tend to reside in these areas of high moisture because their bodily structures leave them vulnerable to water loss. Rollie pollies are most active at night. They occasionally enter buildings and homes via door thresholds.

Pillbug eggs hatch from a brood pouch on the underside of the female’s body. The eggs develop and hatch in about 45 days. After this period, the young pillbugs emerge from the pouch. On average, there are about 28 pill bugs in each brood. Young pillbugs molt twice within the first 2-3 weeks of their life. After that, they molt irregularly depending on the availability of food and other resources. The lifespan of a pillbug is about 2 years.

What Do Pill Bugs Eat?

Pillbugs are scavengers and feed on decaying plant material. Outdoors, they occasionally injure young plants.

Threats – Do Pill Bugs Bite?

Pill bugs do not bite or spread disease. However, the pill bug is considered a nuisance pest indoors. They may cause damage to young plants outdoors.

Signs of an Infestation

Pill bugs typically enter buildings through door thresholds, especially homes with sliding-glass doors on the ground level. Seeing a pill bug in the home usually means that there is a large population outdoors. Pill bugs do not survive more than a few days indoors without moist conditions and a food supply.

How to Get Rid of Pill Bugs

The key to getting rid of pill bugs is to eliminate the moist sites that make their survival possible. Additionally, remove piles of grass clippings and leaves around the properly. Store firewood off the ground and away from the home. Properly ventilate basements, attics and crawlspaces.

If you need to get rid of pill bugs that have already entered a home or building, a vacuum cleaner can aid in their removal. If pill bugs continue to be a problem, contact a licensed pest control professional.

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