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
- I've lived in Spanish Fork all my life and have never seen a beetle like this before...and they're suddenly all over our yard! The adults are about 1/3" long. They are either yellow-green or blue-green on their backs, with a small band of light tan (almost white) all the way around the outside edge. They don't fly. We find them usually running across the driveway and I've found a few in the flower gardens as I'm weeding.
- Do you know of any pest control companies that have an effective treatment for controlling box elder bugs in the fall before they get in the house?
- Do spiders eat earwigs?
- We have a scorpion that just came up on our patio when our sprinklers came on. Is it normal to find a scorpion in Herriman? I have never heard of them here. It seems to be all white and very mean as it came after the people sitting on the patio rather than going away from them. We now have it in a bottle. This concerns me as I have a two year old and a baby who play out side. How do I keep them out of my yard?
- What should you use to kill Box Elder bugs?
- Sandy, Utah area (foothill benches. I am seeing sparse (not dense threads or tent-like)spider webs spanning approx 1-2 inches in the crotches of various limbs on scrub oak (no bugs or spiders are visible, however, did recently see only one yellowish/brown spindly pointed legs/body spider on limb which was about 1/2 - 3/4 inch if legs were spread from end to end). I've never seen spider like it before and can't identify on internet or books. Any thoughts, advice, or place to reference on what and how to treat? Scrub overhangs patio and everyone is paranoid to sit under trees. This is only affecting a few trees near pation, not seen on all scrub oak on property.
- I had some trouble with Squash Bugs attacking my Spagetti Squash. Now my plants looks as if it may have Cucurbit Yellow Vine Disease (CYVD). Should I try to deteremine if its really CYVD and if it is, what do I need to do?
- I have large burrowing bees or wasps that live in my sandbox. They do not sting but are very annoying. What is the best way to get rid of them?