Sowbugs / Pillbugs

Porcellio laevis

Sowbugs are a species of woodlouse, and are nearly identical to pill bugs. They’re not actually insects –they’re crustaceans, which means that they are much closer to shrimp or crayfish.

Fun fact: Sowbugs are the only crustaceans that have adapted to living on land.

Pill bugs are often called Roly-polys because when provoked they can roll up into a ball.

Biological Profile


  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Malacostraca
  • Order: Isopoda
  • Family: Porcellionidae
  • Genus: Porcellio

How common are they?

Sowbugs and pill bugs are very common and exist virtually worldwide. They feed on decaying organic material (mostly plants), and congregate around moist areas. Often they’re found in moist habitats, such as garages, or unfinished basements.

Health Risks


  • Known diseases: None
  • Bites: No
  • Stings: No

How dangerous are they?

Sowbugs are not known to be dangerous. They do not bite, or sting. They are also not known to destroy anything inside of the home.

Pest Treatment Factors


  • Cost: Low
  • DIY-Friendly: Yes
  • Lifestyle Impact: Minimal

How hard are they to get rid of?

Sowbugs and pill bugs are primarily treated through exclusion. Most infestations are treated by identifying entry points and then using caulk, or other materials to block entry.

Recent published articles

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