The most common habitat for pill bugs is damp environments such as compost, piles of leaves, or under logs. Although they are crustaceans, they live on land, unlike lobsters, crabs, shrimp, and other crustaceans. There are approximately 4,000 species of pill bugs, also known as sowbugs, woodlice, or rollie-pollies, according to Northern State University.
Pill bugs have seven pairs of legs and two antennae and are approximately 3/4 inch in length. When disturbed, they roll up into a ball thanks to their segmented outer cuticle that is dark brown or black. In addition to the seven segments of the body that make up its main part, there are five additional smaller segments behind them. Pill bugs also have uropods at the back that are used to detect potential dangers.
In contrast to insects and spiders, pill bugs do not have good waterproof cuticle wax. As a result, they must live in moist areas to remain alive. If woodlice are kept in an environment with less than 50% humidity, they will dehydrate and die within a day.
A pill bug is nocturnal and feeds mostly on rotting vegetation. Their mating season runs from May through September. As a result of mating season, the female pill bug then lays her eggs in a fluid-filled pouch after mating. It takes only a few days for the eggs to hatch, and they live for a few hours before their pouch breaks open. There is a molting cycle every few weeks for pill bugs.
Decomposition is facilitated by pill bugs. They return organic material to the soil after feeding on decomposing plants to provide nutrients for growing plants. The digestion process also removes toxic metals from the soil. As far as plant damage is concerned they do not transmit disease or carry disease. While these small creatures may be annoying to find present in your home, they actually have a positive impact on the ecosystem.
Preventing pill bugs from appearing in unwanted areas is the best management strategy. Pill bugs that manage to get inside of your home can easily be swept up and released outside. To prevent them from coming back, make sure you check for any floor-level cracks and door entry seals. Avoid overwatering indoor plants that might be causing moist environments and remove any decaying plants that may be serving as a host. In addition, there are chemicals that can be used but it’s always best to ask an expert first before spraying chemicals in your home.
Are you concerned about a pill bug infestation in your Alton, IL home or have more questions about these bugs? IMEL Pest Control is there to answer your questions when you need them. With several years of experience in the industry IMEL Pest Control, knows how to safely take care of your pest control needs. Give Us a call today to get started.