Are Roly-Poly Bugs Harmless?

Monday, July 25, 2022

Link to the photo here


Roly-poly bugs or pill bugs look harmless. Are they?

I recently spotted several rolled-up pill bugs on my terrace. And I started wondering, should I do something about them? I usually just lead any bugs, insects, or pests away from my plants and flowers and let them be. I hate killing anything alive unless I am threatened. And these little fellows never have. They don't bite and don't carry diseases that might harm humans or pets.

After doing some research a few years ago, I found that these kinda cute fellas are truly beneficial. They look like a hybrid between a trilobite and an armadillo. Fully grown, they are usually dark in color, mostly grey or brown. These little guys are actually good for the environment and your garden. They usually go after dead plant matter and make compost. They also aerate the soil. Being that small, several predators, such as spiders, frogs, and lizards, go after them. Pill bugs are active at night, and hide during the daytime. It is recommended not to eradicate them because they are necessary to your garden. However, sometimes they will go after your young sprouts and berries. And since they enjoy dark and damp places, you might encounter them in your basement, your bathroom, or your laundry room. So if you want to get rid of them, there is no need to go for pesticides that can do more harm than good to the ecosystem.

Cut a large potato in half to make a trap for the bugs. Scoop out the middle of the potato. Press it open side down to the soil in the garden. Wait a few days or even a week. When you check your trap, one or several bugs will be inside and you can dispose of them. Beware of crushing them: they exude a nasty smell. If you want to get rid of the bugs inside your home, which is not their ideal habitat as they are outdoor bugs, address the source of the problem by repairing any leaking pipe or fighting off excess humidity and moisture and their population will naturally recede. You can also use a vacuum cleaner to remove the bugs or an old-fashioned broom to shove them outside. When you keep your home dry, pill bugs will die if they enter it because they will not have food at their disposal.

Now that you know that these little creatures do more good than damage, leave them be and happy gardening!

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