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Pillbugs and Sowbugs

(Order Isopoda)

Appearance

Pillbugs are oval or slightly elongate with a flattened body. They are wingless, brownish or slate gray in color, have well-developed eyes, seven pairs of legs and, overlapping "armored" plates that make them look like little armadillos. They can also roll up into a tight ball. They are slow-moving crustaceans closely related to crayfish, shrimps, and lobsters, but not insects.

Size

Up to 3/4-inch long.

Behavior

Pillbugs mate throughout the year, with most activity occurring in the spring. The female carries the eggs, numbering from 7 to 200, in a brood pouch on the underside of her body. Eggs hatch in 3 to 7 weeks and the young are white-colored. They remain in the brood pouch for 6 to 8 weeks until they are able to take care of themselves. There may be one to two generations per year, with individuals living up to three years depending on weather conditions.

Habitat

Pillbugs, sometimes called "woodlice," live outdoors, but they may occasionally enter homes in damp areas such as basements and garages. These creatures are a nuisance, and when in large numbers can feed on young plants in greenhouses. Some may crawl into swimming pools and drown, causing complaints. Those that wander into homes usually find a moist place near a leaky pipe or in a damp basement, bathroom, or laundry room.

Interesting Fact

These creatures live outdoors, feeding on decaying organic matter and occasionally young plants and their roots. They may become pests in and around homes where flower bed mulches, grass clippings, leaf litter, rotting boards, trash, rocks, and pet droppings are present. Adequate moisture is essential for their survival, and they group in masses to reduce water loss.

Control

Do you live in South Florida and think that this pest may be invading your home? Hulett Environmental Services offers specialty pest control treatments designed to control and eliminate this pest!

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