Sow bugs are crustaceans belonging to the group woodlice (singular - woodlouse). They look very much like pill bugs, that are another type of woodlice. These two bugs are categorized under land crustaceans as they have the adaptability to survive their entire life on land habitat.
However, similar to aquatic crustaceans, they breathe with the help of gills. Hence, a damp environment with sufficient moisture is crucial for the survival of sow bugs and the similar looking pill bugs.
Sow bugs are slate-gray in color, with oval-shaped, segmented body. At maturity, they measure about 15 mm in length and 7-8 mm in width. They have two pairs of antennae, but only one pair is recognizable. They can be distinguished from pill bugs for the two rear appendages appearing as tails. Besides garden, these invade basements, damp areas of the house.
Similar to pill bugs, sow bugs are not very destructive pests, neither in the house nor the garden. They do not bite or sting, neither do they spread diseases to humans. However, a bug infestation of any type is not an indication of a sound home. Following are some of the effective tips for sow bug control in the house.
Fill Cracks and Fissures
Check for any cracks at the ground level or above it, particularly near the foundation. You can use a caulking gun for the purpose of filling cracks and crevices (if any). In case of homes with poor drainage systems, these should be corrected immediately. This way, you can prevent the entry gate for these pests.
Solve Moisture Problems
Infestation of sow bugs in the house signifies a high moisture level in and around the house. Thus, the best way to get rid of them is to solve the moisture problem first. In the basement area, you can lay polyethylene covers and provide adequate ventilation to prevent infestation of sow bugs.
Lower Humidity Level
If in any case, these bugs enter the house in groups, you can kill them by reducing the humidity level. Being a creature that breathes with gills, a sow bug cannot tolerate a dry environment or a low humidity condition. You can rent a good-quality house humidifier to reduce the room humidity to a recommended level.
Clean Excess Vegetation
Check for plant debris, decaying wood logs, and vegetation in the surrounding perimeter area of the house. Removing these breeding grounds for sow bugs will help in getting rid of these woodlice species. Those items that cannot be cleaned should be kept above the ground level.
Spray Chemical Pesticides
You can also find chemical formulations for controlling sow bugs in the house. Consider spraying pesticides in foundation walls, near drainage holes, and in the basement of the house. While using such products, ensure that you go through the label or user directions for applying the correct concentrations of the pesticides.
For homes with attached garage or greenhouse, extra care of providing ventilation and lowering humidity is needed to control sow bugs. To prevent sow bug infection in flowers and plants, over mulching and excess irrigation should be avoided. Instead of using chemical pesticides at the first place, try other eco-friendly options to control them.