Ask a Question
Notify Me On Question Update
Email this Question
We have a lot of pill bugs in our vegetable garden and strawberries. How can we get rid of them?
Rate This FAQ
Pillbugs and sowbugs are relatives of insects that live in moist soil and similar habitats. They are primarily detritivores (break down decaying organic matter); however, they can be pests of certain plants and fruits, especially strawberry and cantaloupe fruits.
You will not be able to "get rid" of sowbugs because they are numerous and actually contribute to healthy soils; however, to minimize their negative effects to fruits and vegetables in your garden here are a few tips:
- Use a straw, plastic, cardboard, carpet, landscape fabric, or other type of mulch under your strawberries, cantaloupes, and other fruits and vegetables that tend to sit on or contact the soil as they ripen. The mulch will create a barrier between the soil where the sowbugs live and the ripening fruits.
- Reduce soil moisture as the fruits ripen. Sowbugs require moist soil to survive, so they will not live where the soil isn't moist enough to support them. By cutting back on irrigation as the fruits and vegetables ripen you can deter the attraction of sowbugs to the area. You don't want to drought-stress your plants, but keep the surface soil from being too moist.
- Some insecticides, such as carbaryl (Sevin) and permethrin (many brands) are harmful to sowbugs; however, as the fruits approach maturity you do not want to apply an insecticide too close to harvest. Check the label of insecticides registered on the garden crops of interest for the required time between application and harvesting the produce (this is called the pre-harvest interval).
Generally, cultural management practices, such as mulches and soil moisture management are the most effective in preventing sowbugs from becoming a problem in your garden.
Here are a few links to web pages with information on sowbugs and their management:
Submit Your Suggestion
Other Questions In This Topic
- We have ants inside and outside of our house. Twice a year, we have flying ants in the basement of our house. In our garden and strawberry patch, we have big aggresive ants that make it difficult to enjoy our strawberries. What is the best way to get rid of the ants in these places? Is is ok to poison them around the strawberries? What about in the house?
- We planted linden trees this year and wrapped the trunks with white corrugated tubing to prevent sun scald in the winter. In looking at leaf damage on the outside border of the leaves, I noted that there were literally hundreds of small gray/black flying insects clustered under the tree wrap. What might they be and are they responsible for the chewed leaves? What treatment is needed?
- We have flying insects black and red. long tail laying eggs in juniper trees. What are they?
- I have millions of tiny black jumping bugs in my garage. They go in and out of the cracks in the floors, all over the concrete, walls, etc. I see very few in the day time; However at night millions everywhere. I have tried every spay I know of but nothing seems to kill them. Please Help.
- We have millions of tiny tan bugs that jump when you try to swat them. I think they are springtails, and I have no idea how to get rid of them. They are coming into our house (we rent out a basement apartment), and they are all over outside! They are on the concrete, the stucco, everywhere! They don't seem to be bothering my two cats or our plants outside. How do I get rid of them? I've tried putting Sevin outside around the doorway and windowsills to keep them out, however it is not working.
- I came up the stairs this morning, thinking there was a wad of cat hair...Ohhh was I wrong! It was a beetle almost 3" long! HUGE! Scared me to death! WHAT is it??? I have pictures of it along side a ruler. Brownish...legs were quite 'barbed'. Big antenae. Ewww.
- I have little black beetles in my home do you know what they are and how to get rid of them?
- I have been fighting a battle with snails and slugs for the past 10 years. I can't find diatomaceous earth that is free of serious pesticides and I can use around my vegetables. (It seems to be more like typical non-garden pesticide in the form I find it.) I also wonder about copper barriers and what sort of copper I could use for that.