Rollie-Pollies Everywhere

Help! All of a sudden, I have the rollie-polly type bugs in my home and I’m not even sure what type of bug they are? Is this your scenery? If yes, we can help you with the confusion by describing Pill bugs and Sow Bugs.

Pill Bugs

Pill bugs, or “rolliepollies,” lack tail-like appendages and can roll into a tight ball, from which the name “rolliepollies” is derived. 

Sow Bugs

Sow bugs, often called woodlice, possess two tail-like appendages, seven pairs of legs, and well-developed eyes. They are incapable of rolling into a tight ball.


Both are members of the order Isopoda. Pill bugs and Sow bugs are similar-looking pests which are more closely like shrimp and crayfish than to insects. They are the ONLY crustaceans that have adapted to living their entire life on land. They both live in moist environments outdoors but sometimes end up in buildings. They typically arrive in large numbers. They are feed primarily on decaying matter. 

Both are nocturnal and are active and eat at night. During daylight, they spend their hours in moist and dark areas.

They are not dangerous. They do not bite, sting, or transmit diseases. Mostly they are a nuisance but you can expect minor damages on the young plant tissue and seedlings. They also feed on young roots, seedlings, fruits and vegetables that are grow and lay on the soil. If they do not find damp areas in your home, they cannot survive in a house for more than a day or two.



When it comes to protecting and defending themselves, they react differently.

When Pill bugs get agitated, disturbed, or simple poked, they can quickly roll up their entire body, as if forming a ball (or conglobulating or rollie-polies). It allows them to guard the softer and more vulnerable underside parts of their body.

Sow bugs cannot roll themselves into a closed ball. Even though they look very similar to pill bugs, their bodies are less semi-circular. 

Another difference of a sow bug from a pill bug can be noticed by their tails or lack of. Sow bugs have two tail-like appendages which project out from the rear end of the body. Pill bugs have no posterior appendages which allows them to roll up into a tight ball and become the rollie-pollies.

How to Eliminate

Pest Control
Hire a Pest Control Service to perform an inspection and give you the analysis of the problem with their treatment solution.

Minimize Moisture, Remove Debris
“The most effective, long-term measure for reducing indoor entry of these pests is to minimize moisture and hiding places near the foundation. Leaves, grass clippings, heavy accumulations of mulch, boards, stones, boxes, and similar items laying on the ground beside the foundation should be removed. Don’t allow water to accumulate near the foundation or in the crawl space. Water should be diverted away from the foundation wall with properly functioning gutters, down spouts and splash blocks. Leaking faucets, water pipes and air conditioning units should be repaired, and lawn sprinklers should be adjusted to minimize puddling near the foundation. Homes with poor drainage may need to have tiles or drains installed, or the ground sloped to so that surface water drains away from the building. Humidity in crawl spaces and basements should be reduced by providing adequate ventilation, sump pumps, polyethylene soil covers, etc.,” explains Entomology at the University of Kentucky.

Seal Pest Entry Points
Make sure to seal cracks and openings in the outside foundation wall, and around the bottoms of doors and basement windows. Also, install tight-fitting door sweeps or thresholds at the base of all exterior entry doors. Apply caulk along the bottom outside edge and sides of door thresholds. Seal expansion joints where outdoor patios, sunrooms and sidewalks join with the foundation.

If you see any evidence of unwanted insects in your lawn, landscaping, home or business, contact a pest control company immediately to take care of the issue.

Houseman Services is the only complete service company in the Athens, GA area. We provide Weed control, fertilization, shrub care, mulch & pine straw, sod, annual plantings, irrigation, and commercial & residential lawn maintenance. We are also state certified and licensed in wood destroying organisms (termite control), household pest control, public heath, and turf & ornamental weed control. We are licensed to control and treat mosquitoes, termites, all pest problems and turf & ornamental weed control. Contact the professionals at Houseman Services and set up a free inspection of your yard. We have been servicing homes and businesses in the Athens, Clarke County area since 1985!