Why do I have Pillbugs Inside

Pillbugs, roly-polies, woodlice… Depending on where you’re from, these creatures are known by many names. Your kids might have a soft spot for these things, but there’s no reason for them to be in your home instead of under a log. Unlike many animals that can enter our homes, Pillbugs aren’t exactly destructive. They don’t bite, they don’t cause structural damage, and they don’t even get in our food. But does that mean you can ignore pillbugs? No, far from it – If you’re noticing pillbugs indoors, this can be a sign of a real problem.

What Are Pillbugs?

Despite the common name, they aren’t bugs – A type of insect. Believe it or not, these are crustaceans! They’re more closely related to crabs and crayfish than millipedes and termites. And yes, they do have gills! They can’t survive underwater, but they do need a lot of humidity to survive. They protect these gills by rolling into tight little balls, where they get the name roly-poly from. Their smooth, round armor protects them and makes them easy for kids to roll around. It’s also where they get their scientific name, Armadillidium Vulgare (Latreille). They’re named after armadillos!

Why Do I Have Pillbugs?

First off, you may not have pillbugs. Only pillbugs can roll into a little ball – Sowbugs, which look like them, can not. However, if you have one, you’ll likely have the other. Usually, you’ll see these animals outdoors. This is because they need a very humid environment to survive. You may see them in your bathroom. If you do, it means a couple of things.

  • Your bathroom is too humid – Pillbugs shouldn’t be able to survive inside.
  • Your home likely has a clear path from the outside to the inside.

Pillbugs need so much humidity that they usually can’t survive the trek from your door to other places in your home. If they’re doing okay, it means the humidity in your home is high. There may even be a leak somewhere in the walls or cabinets. There may even be mold growing – And if there’s mold, there are pillbugs.

How to Prevent Them

You might be noticing a theme here. Avoid moisture! Outside, avoid mulching more than an inch or two, or you’ll have these critters running through your garden. Chances are you can’t get rid of them outside completely. They live under rocks, and they help break down old material and prevent funguses.

In your home, however, you’ll want to invest in good weatherstripping. Ensure there aren’t any leaky pipes, and call a plumber to service any persistent drips. Bleach down any moldy spots, and dry out any areas that have started to mold. You may have heard that they eat mold, but this isn’t true. Pillbugs and sowbugs eat things that can become moldy. Wood slime, residue, and other things that develop mold are prime spots for these creatures to graze.

If you have pillbugs, you’re likely to start having other bugs. Flies, gnats, ants, and more can thrive in the same places pillbugs can. They really shouldn’t be inside. Consider them a red flag for bigger problems, and call us if you see them. Visit our website to learn more about the pests that thrive in humidity!

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