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
- When do spray for the cotteling moths, Apple worms?
- 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.
- We have lots of large, brown, fat beetles around our house this year. Any idea what they are, and if they are a problem for our plants and flowers?
- 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?
- Is there any evidence of free run chickens significantly controlling flies from horse manure? I have neighbors who rely solely on a single hen and rooster to control flies for their two horses in a paddock, not a pasture. No other form of control is used. While chickens may, in fact control insects, I suspect the only real way to control insects (particularly flies) is to routinely (daily or weekly) police the manure and dispose of it. Is there any literature on the subject?
- I was camping in Big Cottonwood Canyon this weekend. Sunday Morning a large beetle landed on my leg. I flicked it off. As we were taking down camp more of this same beetle kept landing on me. It had about and inch long body and almost double that with the antenna. I was hoping you could help me identify it and tips that may be useful for preventing them from pursuing me in the future.
- Every spring I get larger black ants coming into my house mostly in the kitchen. I also see them outside the house and climbing around the base structure. I have determined that they are not termites. I tried using a bate last year but unlike all of the smaller colonies of ants that I gave the bate to (which I haven't seen in the house only in the driveway and sidewalks) which immediately started loading it up to take back to the nest, these ants weren't interested. Is there a reason? What kind of ant might they be and therefore what kind of bate do I need to use?
- I live at the edge of a neighborhood bordering the mountains in North Ogden. The last week we have seen hundreds and hundreds of little beetle-like bugs that have six legs, two antennas and a green/black body with a bright orange border. It appears the adult version of the beetle is about 1/4 inch long and fairly round. I'm wondering what this bug is and what damage it can/will do. I have close-up photos that I'd be more than happy to provide. Can you please help me identify this pest?