Pillbug

Category:

Actual Size:  ¼ “ to ½”

Characteristics: Oval; dark to slate gray

Legs: 14

Antennae: 2 pairs

Wings: No

Habitat: Attracted to areas of moisture; often underneath mulch, leaves, stones, etc.

Habits:

  • Pillbugs can roll up into a ball; sowbugs can not.
  • When disturbed or threatened, will roll up into a tight ball.
  • Attracted to moisture, and will only survive for a few days indoors.

Pillbugs in Puerto Rico

As one of the only crustaceans adapted to live on land, pillbugs are common throughout the United States. Pillbugs and sowbugs are similar-looking pests which are more closely related to shrimp and crayfish than to insects. Often known as roly polies, pillbugs are able to roll up into a tight ball when disturbed or threatened. They are easily recognized by their back, which is made up of seven hard individual plates. Since pillbugs require moisture, they do not survive indoors for more than a few days unless there are very moist or damp conditions.

Pillbug Habitat

Pillbugs  thrive in moist environments and can be found outdoors under mulch, fallen leaves, and rocks. Pillbugs are nocturnal and require humid conditions during the day. These crustaceans are generally found in moist soil along with sowbugs, millipedes, and earthworms. Pillbugs may leave their natural habitats at night, and crawl about over sidewalks, patios, and foundations. They can become a nuisance as they often invade crawl spaces, damp basements and first floors of structures at ground level.

Pillbug Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

Pillbugs do not bite or sting and are not known to pose any threats to humans. They do not contaminate food or spread diseases. Pillbugs are mainly a nuisance pest, especially when they venture indoors. They are capable of feeding on tender plant tissue and occasionally cause considerable damage to garden transplants and seedlings. Pillbugs typically enter buildings through door thresholds, especially homes with sliding-glass doors on the ground level. Seeing a pillbug in the home usually means that there is a large population outdoors.

If you have a pillbug problem in your San Juan property, contact your local exterminators.