Sowbugs & Pillbugs

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Sowbugs in Vancouver

Chances are if you pick up a rock or log you will discover a micro-climate teeming with Sowbugs or Pillbugs lurking below. Around the home you will often see them in your basement or just inside thresholds as they seek out moisture. Pesticide application indoors for these pests is often not necessary. A simple vacuum of the area will suffice as they will simply dry up before the product would have any effects. Exterior barrier treatments are a control option in high population areas.

Often referred to as a “woodbug”, The Sowbug and Pillbug are not actually “bugs” at all. They are in the order Isopoda, belonging to the family of crustaceans; Just like the  barnacle or lobster.

Although they don’t live in water, sowbugs and pillbugs are still highly dependent on water for survival as they breathe through gills. Needing to remain moist to survive, they will hunt for food in the evenings and during cooler periods, preventing dehydration from the sun.

Huddling in groups maintains moisture levels and limits evaporation.

Did you know? To tell apart a Pillbug from a Sowbug: the exoskeletons of Pillbugs have 10 segments that allow them to roll up into a ball when danger is sensed. Sowbugs lack this capability in preference of fleeing away. Some species of sowbugs are able to discharge a noxious substance that discourages other animals from eating them.

These armor clad miniature armadillos eat the discarded exoskeleton shell to recycle the calcium. This is used to strengthen their new exoskeleton. Sowbugs and pillbugs are wingless. An average lifespan duration of 2 years is normal, while 5 years is possible.

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