Pillbug Sowbug

Don’t let your seedlings fall victim to pillbugs: They’ll chew on leaves and fine roots.

Last Seen in the Vicinity of . . .

North America.



Pillbugs (also called sowbugs) generally feed on decaying organic matter in the soil. They cause little or no damage to established plants, but if their numbers become high, they can severely damage seedlings by chewing on the tender leaves and fine roots. They attack the seedlings of many types of plants.


Adults are gray or brown crustaceans, 1-4 to 5-8 inch long, with numerous segments of jointed armor. They have seven pairs of barely visible, short legs. Pillbugs curl up into a ball when disturbed. The nymphs look like small adults.

Crime Prevention

` Drain wet areas and remove trash, leaf litter, boards, and other such material from around foundations and garden beds to remove hiding places.

` To protect seedlings, allow the soil surface to dry out between waterings, or sprinkle diatomaceous earth around attacked seedlings.


` Check for pillbugs under stones or boards every morning and destroy them.

` Set out traps made from heavy paper painted with sticky glue, then folded tentlike, with the sticky side down.