What Are Pill Bugs?

Pill Bug

Pill Bugs

Pill bugs, also known as sowbugs, woodlice, or roly-polies, are small, segmented crustaceans that belong to the order Isopoda. Despite their appearance, they are not insects; rather, they are more closely related to shrimp and crayfish. Pillbugs are typically characterized by their oval-shaped, grayish to brownish exoskeletons and their ability to roll into a tight ball when threatened, giving them their "roly-poly" nickname.

What Kinds Pill Bugs Are There?

Some common species of pill bugs include:

Armadillidium vulgare:

Also known as the common pill bug or common woodlouse, this species is widespread and often found in gardens, under rocks, and in other damp environments.

What are pill bugs?
Common Pill Bug

Armadillidium nasatum:

The common striped pill bug is another species commonly found in the United States. It has distinctive longitudinal stripes on its back.

Porcellio scaber:

Known as the rough woodlouse, this species is found in a variety of habitats, including gardens, compost piles, and forests.

Oniscus asellus:

Commonly referred to as the common woodlouse, this species is native to Europe but has been introduced to other regions. It is often found in moist environments.

Porcellionides pruinosus:

The powder-blue or powdery blue pill bug is recognized by its blue-gray coloration and is commonly found in urban and suburban environments.

Where Can I Find Pill Bugs?

Pillbugs are commonly found in damp, cool environments, and they play a crucial role in breaking down decaying organic matter. Here are common places where you might find pillbugs:

  1. Gardens: Pillbugs are often found in gardens, especially in areas with moist soil and decaying plant material. They contribute to the decomposition process by feeding on organic matter.
  2. Under Rocks and Logs: Pillbugs seek shelter and moisture under rocks, logs, and other debris on the ground. These areas provide a suitable habitat for them to thrive.
  3. Mulch Beds: Pillbugs are attracted to mulch beds because they provide a moist environment and a continuous supply of decaying organic material.
  4. Compost Piles: Compost heaps are ideal habitats for pill bugs as they feed on decomposing organic matter. While they aid in the composting process, large populations might be considered a nuisance.
  5. Damp Basements: In homes, pillbugs may enter basements or crawl spaces in search of moisture. If there are cracks or gaps in the foundation, pillbugs may find their way indoors.
  6. Leaf Litter: Pillbugs are commonly found in leaf litter on the forest floor, where they contribute to the decomposition of fallen leaves.
  7. Moist Areas: Generally, pillbugs are associated with moist environments. Areas with high humidity levels, such as near ponds or streams, can also attract pillbugs.

Why Do I Have Pill Bugs?

The presence of pill bugs in and around your home can be attributed to several factors, and understanding these factors can help you address the issue. Here are some common reasons why you might have pillbugs:

  1. Moisture: Pillbugs thrive in damp environments. If there are areas around your home with excess moisture, such as leaky pipes, damp basements, or areas with poor drainage, it can attract pillbugs.
  2. Decaying Organic Matter: Pillbugs feed on decaying plant material. If you have a garden, compost pile, or areas with decomposing leaves and wood debris near your home, it provides an ideal food source for pillbugs.
  3. Mulch Beds: Mulch is commonly used in landscaping, but it can also create a favorable habitat for pillbugs. They are attracted to the moisture-retaining properties of mulch and the decaying organic matter within it.
  4. Cracks and Gaps: Pillbugs may enter your home through cracks or gaps in the foundation, walls, or around windows and doors. Inspect your home for potential entry points and seal them to prevent pill bugs from getting indoors.
  5. Cool, Shaded Areas: Pillbugs are nocturnal and prefer cool, shaded areas during the day. If you have dark, secluded spaces around your home, such as under rocks or in crawl spaces, it could attract pillbugs.
  6. Overwatering: Overwatering your garden or yard can create excessively moist conditions, providing an attractive environment for pill bugs.

It's important to note that while pillbugs are not harmful to humans, they can become a nuisance if they enter homes in large numbers. If you're dealing with an indoor infestation, addressing moisture issues and sealing entry points can help reduce their presence. Outdoors, maintaining a well-kept garden and minimizing damp conditions around your home can also discourage pillbugs from becoming a nuisance.

How Do I Get Rid Of Pill Bugs?

To reduce or eliminate the presence of pillbugs, consider taking the following steps:

  • Address Moisture Issues: Fix any leaks, improve drainage, and ensure proper ventilation to reduce excess moisture around your home.
  • Clean Up Debris: Remove decaying organic matter, such as leaves, wood, and dead plant material, from around your home and garden.
  • Limit Mulch: If you use mulch, avoid piling it too close to the foundation of your home. Use it sparingly and keep it well-aerated.
  • Seal Entry Points: Seal any cracks or gaps in the exterior of your home to prevent pill bugs from entering.
  • Pest Control: If pill bug infestations persist or become overwhelming, consider calling Alta Pest Control. We can assess the situation, provide targeted treatments, and offer ongoing pest management solutions.

By addressing these factors, you can create an environment that is less attractive to pillbugs, reducing the likelihood of an infestation. Contact Alta Pest Control today if you're dealing with a pill bug infestation!

Pill Bug FAQs

What problems do pill bugs cause?

Pill bugs are generally not harmful to humans, pets, or structures. However, they can become a nuisance when they invade homes in search of moisture or shelter. In large numbers, they may feed on young plants, seedlings, or tender roots in gardens, potentially causing minor damage to vegetation.

What do pill bugs hate?

Pill bugs dislike substances that are abrasive or irritating to their exoskeletons. Some things that they may find unpleasant include diatomaceous earth, crushed eggshells, and copper tape. These materials can act as barriers to deter pill bugs from certain areas.

Do coffee grounds repel pill bugs?

There is no strong evidence to suggest that coffee grounds repel pill bugs. While coffee grounds may have some repellent properties against certain pests, their effectiveness against pill bugs is limited. Other methods, such as those mentioned earlier, may be more effective in managing pill bug populations.

Are pill bugs bad for your yard?

Pill bugs are generally not considered harmful to yards. They play a beneficial role in ecosystems by aiding in the decomposition of organic matter. However, in gardens, they may feed on young plants, seedlings, or tender roots, causing minor damage. In most cases, their presence is more of a nuisance than a serious threat.

What eats pill bugs?

Pill bugs have natural predators that help control their populations. Ground beetles, centipedes, spiders, and some birds, such as robins, are known to feed on pill bugs. These natural predators play a role in maintaining a balance in the ecosystem and keeping pill bug numbers in check.

How Alta Pest Control Protects Your Home From Pests

All of our treatment plans are customized to your home and yard. We do this to ensure that you get the exact coverage you need to keep your home safe. All of our technicians and inspectors are experts in their field, so you can be sure that you are getting top-tier protection.


One of our expert technicians will inspect every inch of your home and business for pest activity. Then they will create a custom plan based on their findings.

Initial Service

Once your custom plan is created, we will treat your home and yard to give you immediate relief from pests. Then, we will create a boundary around your property to prevent more pests from entering.

Follow Ups

After the initial service, we will conduct regular maintenance to ensure that your pest problems remain solved. We will also conduct free inspections for problem pests, such as termites.

Alta Guarantee

When it comes to pest control, we put our money where our mouth is. If we treat your home, and you're still seeing pests, we'll come back and retreat for free. We'll always have your back.


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