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Sowbugs and Pillbugs: Identification, Habits, and Prevention


The Difference Between Pillbugs and Sowbugs

Pillbugs and Sowbugs are land-based crustaceans often confused with each other because they look and act very similar. Pillbugs, also called “roly-polies”, are primarily known for rolling up into a ball when disturbed, where sowbugs do not. The other main difference is that sowbugs have two tail-like appendages. 

Pillbug and Sowbug Habits

During the day, pillbugs and sowbugs are inactive. They can be found near structures typically hiding under things such as rocks, flower pots, in the soil, etc. In Minnesota and Wisconsin, pillbugs and sowbugs will typically enter homes and businesses through door thresholds, preferring sliding glass doors at the ground level. They are commonly found in areas with high moisture such as basements, bathrooms, laundry rooms, etc. Although pillbugs and sowbugs only invade structures on occasion, when they do, this could be an indication that there are a large population outside. Finding them indoors can also indicate that your home may be attractive to other moisture related pests like millipedes, centipedes, and springtails.


Since sowbugs and pillbugs need moisture to survive the first step you want to take is to make the area you are seeing them in less suitable. The easiest way to do this is to use a dehumidifier to dry out the location. Next you want to eliminate areas for them to hide around your home. Remove grass clippings and leaves, and keep boxes, wood, and flower pots off the ground when possible.

Adam’s Pest Control

Remember, if you are seeing sowbugs or pillbugs indoors, that can mean that there are additional moisture related pests as well. Adam’s Pest Control not only works to eliminate current pest issues, but also works to prevent pests in your home or business. To sign up for a service, call 763-478-9810 or email

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