Although sow bugs are not known specifically to endanger human health (such as rodents, flies, and mosquitoes), their mere presence can be a cause of concern. They are classified as crustaceans, but ironically, they cannot live in water. Neither are they capable of keeping too much water in their system. Instead, they share the same living conditions as other arthropods and insects. They prefer moist and dark environment, but they can accidentally come out of their habitat and disturb humans. Sow bugs are mostly active at night and remain inactive during the winter season.
Proper identification leads to successful management of sow bugs. These creatures are often confused with another crustacean called “pillbugs,” but there are noticeable differences. While both species are classified as isopods (meaning, having identical legs), pillbugs can curl into a ball, and sow bugs cannot. While both creatures have segmented bodies, sow bugs have a flatter appearance and resemble a trilobite or a louse. In addition, sow bugs are elliptical and can grow to about 1 cm in length. They have seven pair of legs and two pairs of antennae. Both sow bugs and pill bugs are collectively called “woodlice.”
A sow bug’s diet consists of decaying plants, leaf litters, and natural debris. That’s why they are most likely to be found in the garden, particularly under leaves, tree stumps, decaying wood, and in damp soil. Because of this, gardeners can treat sow bugs either as pests or friend. When they feed on leaf seedlings, they can affect the harvest and are thus a threat to gardeners. When they produce compost, they are welcome to stay in the garden.
Sow bugs are usually found in garden beds, usually under cover and in large numbers. However, they can occasionally enter the house through sliding doors, cracks, and unfinished crawlspaces. At home, they are usually found in the basement, inside bottom cabinets, in sunrooms, and in damp areas (e.g., drain pipes, bathrooms). During the winter, they can be found in artificial heated structures. Also during the winter, these creatures can enter the house through firewood carried inside.
Sow bugs thrive in moist or damp places. That’s why when they enter a dry structure, they are not expected to survive for more than a few days. They would, however, crawl and find a damp place if they can. The best thing to do to keep these pests away from the house is to ensure that the house is as dry as possible. Also, constant monitoring is required to check cracks and areas that can be habitable to sow bugs.
Aside from that, it’s also important to check the surroundings for possible hiding places of sow bugs. OnSite Pest Control can identify these hiding places for you. When their is a disturbance in their habitat, they can crawl their way into homes for a temporary residence. That said, any damp or moist places outside should be dried out immediately. Litters, loose barks, and decaying fruits and vegetables should also be cleaned. Any cracks should be sealed with a strong sealer, and basements should have proper ventilation.
Treatment for Sow Bugs will consist of a light residual spray to all active areas and perimeters of the affected unit.