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Elimination

The most effective solution for eliminating sow bugs and pill bugs is to combine physical and chemical control measures. It is important to identify and remove any sources of food around the house. Then, destroy any potential shelters for these pests near the building (piles of organic matter on the ground are ideal hiding places for these little crustaceans), and seal any cracks in the structure. Identify and eliminate sources of humidity in the house. We also recommend ventilating the building to reduce the relative humidity and create conditions in which the bugs cannot survive.

Outside the building, a liquid insecticide or an insecticide soap may be applied in a 3 m (10' ) band around the building and on the foundation. If the insecticide is properly applied, a spot treatment using Maheu&Maheu Crawling Insect Killer inside the house should be sufficient to limit the population of sow bugs or pill bugs.

Actions

  • Put out glue traps inside the house
  • Locate & fix water leaks or seepage
  • Spot treat with insecticide indoors
  • Spray or treat the outside perimeter of the house with an insecticide as well as the outsides of windows and doors if a lot of pests are getting in

Prevention

  • Remove fall leaves and other organic matter from window wells
  • Avoid storing materials alongside the foundations or on the ground
  • Seal the outsides of windows, doors, eaves, chimneys, etc. as completely as possible
  • Keep humidity as low as possible

Description and development

Sow bugs and pill bugs are not insects; they are crustaceans, just like lobsters and shrimp. They therefore need a high level of humidity to survive. These flat, oval-shaped, grayish bugs measure approximately 13 to 15 mm (1/2") in length, and have a soft shell. The Sow Bug Porcellio leavis has seven pairs of legs and two pairs of antennae. It also has two small appendices at the end of its abdomen, while the Pill Bug Armadillilium vulgare has none. After mating, the female carries her eggs in a brood pouch (vivarium) on the underside of her body until they hatch about forty days later. She lays an average of 24 eggs at a time. The bugs have a lifespan of up to two years.

Habits

Sow bugs and pill bugs cannot survive in dry environments like most insects, since their gills (organs through which they breathe) work only if the humidity level is high enough. The bugs live in dark places and feed on decaying organic matter such as cut grass, dead leaves, dead plant roots, insects, and other dead organisms. In cases where there are large populations of these bugs inside buildings, there will generally be large numbers of them outside as well.

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