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Pest Education: Pill Bugs in Ontario

Monday, December 26, 2022 by Greeny’s Pest Control Inc.

Pill bugs, also known as roly polies or sow bugs, are a common sight in gardens and lawns throughout Ontario. These small, segmented creatures belong to the order Isopoda and are closely related to crustaceans like crabs and lobsters. Despite their crab-like appearance, pill bugs are completely harmless to humans and can actually be quite helpful in the garden.


Pill bugs are easily recognized by their oval-shaped bodies and the ability to roll into a tight ball when threatened. They range in size from about half an inch to an inch long and are typically grey or brown in colour. Pill bugs are nocturnal, so they are most active at night and can often be found hiding under rocks, logs, and other debris during the day.


Pill bugs are found throughout the world, including in Ontario, where they are most common in moist, shaded areas. They are often found in gardens and lawns, as they feed on decomposing plant matter and help to break down organic material. Pill bugs are important decomposers in the ecosystem, helping to recycle nutrients back into the soil.


Despite their benefits in the garden, pill bugs can sometimes be a nuisance for homeowners. They are attracted to damp, cool environments, so they may invade basements and crawl spaces if conditions are favourable. To prevent pill bugs from entering your home, seal any cracks or openings around the foundation, and make sure that gutters and downspouts are in good repair to keep the area around the house dry.


If you do find pill bugs in your home, the best way to get rid of them is to remove any sources of moisture that may be attracting them. Fix any leaks or other sources of moisture and use a dehumidifier if necessary. You can also try placing sticky traps or barriers around the perimeter of your home to keep pill bugs from entering.


In the garden, pill bugs can be controlled by keeping the area clean and removing any debris that might provide them with a hiding place. Avoid over-watering your plants, as this can create a damp environment that is attractive to pill bugs. If you do notice an infestation of pill bugs, you can try using a natural predator, such as a ground beetle, to control their population.


Overall, pill bugs are a common and harmless presence in Ontario gardens and lawns. While they can be a nuisance if they invade your home, they are actually beneficial to the ecosystem and can help to break down organic material in the soil. By taking a few simple steps to keep your home and garden dry and free of debris, you can help to prevent an infestation of pill bugs.

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