Roly Polies are Invading My Home - What do I Need to Know?

Posted by Mosquito Squad

December 20, 2023

Most of the time, you won’t find huge pill bug (commonly known as roly-polies) infestations inside your home. But, when you do, there is likely a reason for it. Maybe there is a lot of darkness and moisture in your home. That is their favorite place to stay. If you have an infestation, here is what you need to know.

What is a Pill Bug?

A pill bug, commonly referred to as a roly-poly or potato bug, is actually a crustacean. They have a body with segmented sections and seven pairs of legs. They have a gray or brown color as adults and can be up to ¾ inch in size. They can curl up into a ball when feeling threatened. According to Entomology at the University of Kentucky, the sowbug and pillbug are the only crustaceans living their entire life on land. They can stay alive if they have more than 30% hydration.

What Are the Benefits and Downfalls of Roly-Polies?

A pill bug is nocturnal and mainly lives under rocks, leaves, mulch, or logs. They must have humid conditions to stay hydrated. They can be quite beneficial to a garden because they love to feed on dead plants, then return them to the soil, naturally composting. Occasionally they can eat some plant roots, or even seedlings, giving them a pest status. These creepy little crawlers could sometimes enter your home but can easily be swept back into the outdoors. One good thing to know is that they are not harmful to humans, pets, or your home.

Pill Bug Life Cycle

According to the University of Florida Entomology and Nematology, females carry the eggs in a marsupium, also known as a brood pouch. They carry the pouches on their underside, and the eggs will hatch around week three or four. They may produce up to three broods a year, each of which will have 100 to 200 eggs. Adults can live anywhere from two to five years.

Interesting Facts About Pill Bugs

Pill Bugs have some unique traits that may surprise you. You may have already been surprised that they are crustaceans, not insects.

  • Pill Bugs Have Gills – Since they are crustaceans, they have gills and use them for breathing. This can pose a problem if they don’t have a moist enough environment.
  • Pill Bugs Do Not Urinate – Simply put, they don’t need to urinate as they release gas through their exoskeleton.
  • Pill Bugs Eat Their Own Feces- It is believed that pill bugs eat their poop to regenerate the copper that they excrete when pooping. This is called coprophagy.

Roly Poly Control

You can do many things to reduce the chances of pill bugs entering your home. The first step would be reducing any items that have moisture from the areas surrounding your foundation. If your home has any accumulations of water near the foundation, this will attract these little guys to come on into your home since they need moisture to survive. You should check to ensure that there are no cracks in your foundation and that all your doors and windows are properly sealed.

Last but not least, you can call the professionals at Mosquito Squad of West St. Louis County. We are experts in pest control and have experience with many types of bugs, including pill bugs. You can choose the Winter Protection Plan Package or the Elite Package to combat your roly poly infestations. Contact us online or call us today at (636) 735-7132 for a free quote for your pill bug control needs.