Wildlife Wednesday: Pillbugs - Your Harmless Garden Companions

Three close-up images of pillbugs with the text: Wildlife Wednesday

Wildlife Wednesday: Pillbugs - Your Harmless Garden Companions

Welcome back to Wildlife Wednesday on Paragon Pest Control’s blog! Today, we’re shining the spotlight on one of the most familiar yet overlooked creatures around your home - the pillbug. Often called roly-polies, these small creatures are a common sight in damp areas around the house and garden. But don’t be alarmed – pillbugs are generally harmless and can even be beneficial.

What are Pillbugs?

Pillbugs are small, gray, and resemble tiny armadillos because of their ability to roll into a tight ball as a defense mechanism. Despite often being grouped with insects, they are crustaceans, more closely related to shrimp and crayfish. They breathe through gill-like structures and prefer moist environments to survive.

Where Do Pillbugs Live?

You'll typically find pillbugs in moist areas where they can access organic material. They thrive in:

  • Under rocks and logs,

  • Within piles of dead leaves,

  • Around flowerpots and gardens.

Are Pillbugs Harmful?

Pillbugs are detritivores, meaning they feed on decaying plant material. This diet makes them beneficial for your garden as they help break down organic matter, enriching soil fertility. They are not harmful to humans or pets and do not bite, sting, or carry diseases.

Managing Pillbugs

While pillbugs are harmless, excessive moisture around your home could attract them and other less-welcome pests. Here are a few tips to manage their presence:

  • Reduce moisture by fixing leaks and ensuring proper drainage,

  • Clear away leaf litter and debris from your home’s foundation,

  • Use barriers like gravel or sand around the base of your home to deter entry.

Pillbugs are a part of our local ecosystem and serve a role in the decomposition process. Next time you spot these little roly-polies, remember they are more of a helper than a hindrance.

For more insights on local wildlife and pest control tips, visit our website at paragonpestdfw.com. If you encounter any pest issues or have questions about creatures around your home, Paragon Pest Control is here to help in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.