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Crustaceans are mostly sea dwelling animals that include lobsters, crabs, and crayfish. Like arachnids and insects, crustaceans are classified as arthropods. Unsurprisingly, many of today’s modern arthropods, like scorpions, closely resemble their sea-dwelling ancestors. However, there are two crustaceans that have evolved to survive solely on land, and as it happens, these terrestrial crustaceans are also common indoor pests. These two crustacean pests are commonly known as pillbugs and sowbugs, and they can be found all over North America.

Pillbugs and sowbugs usually reach half an inch in length, but they are often smaller. These bugs are easily recognizable due to their armor-like black shell, and they mainly dwell outdoors where they can often be found in gardens, feeding on decaying organic matter. Occasionally, these two bugs feed on the roots of green plants, but the damage they cause to plants is often minimal. Despite their preferred outdoor habitat, they often wander indoors in large numbers, but they do not cause damage within homes. That being said, pillbugs and sowbugs can become a nuisance indoors, and they are often found crawling on people within homes where rotting organic matter is present.

Pillbugs and sowbugs are quite similar in terms of biology and habits, and the manner in which these indoor pests are controlled is also nearly identical. Both of these bugs are slow moving and thrive within moist environments. They generally wander into open spaces of a home during the nighttime hours, but they do not inflict bites to humans. During the day, pillbugs and sowbugs tend to rest below trash, boards, rocks and beneath the soil’s surface. Heavy indoor infestations indicate a high outdoor populations surrounding a home. An abundance of leaf-litter, mulch and grass-clippings provide an ideal habitat for numerous pillbugs and sowbugs. Removing such organic materials from a lawn, as well as indoor sources of rotting food, is the best way to prevent indoor sowbug and pillbug infestations.

Have you ever found sowbugs and/or pillbugs within your home?