Ways to Prevent Pill Bugs From Coming Inside the House
Pill bugs, sometimes referred to as sow bugs, potato bugs and rolly pollies, pose no direct harm to human beings or pets. These insects eat decayed plant matter, not blood, and defend themselves by curling up, not by injecting poison. While not a threat, however, these pests can still be a nuisance, especially when they come into your home in swarms. You can take several simple steps to prevent pill bug infestations.
Repair and seal any cracks located in the foundation and outer walls of your home. Pill bugs live and generally travel underground, where they can find the most moisture, and will avoid staying above ground for extended periods of time whenever possible. Focus on sealing openings located underground or at ground level and make higher cracks and openings, located near windows and upper levels, a second priority.
Sand and Diatomaceous Earth
Two natural pill bug preventatives are sand and diatomaceous earth. Pill bugs avoid dry, sandy areas. Pour sand along the sides of your home to ward off these pests and drive them away from your home's perimeter.
Diatomaceous earth acts as a natural poison to pill bugs. When consumed, this powder damages pill bug cuticles and causes the bugs to dehydrate and die. Spread diatomaceous earth around your home's perimeter, as well.
Pesticides and Traps
Several commercial pesticides also work against pill bugs. Spray pesticides work up to 60 days. If applied properly at the correct time of year, these sprays could last long enough to ward pill bugs off until the freeze kills them for the season. Insecticide dusts create a barrier against pests and last longer than sprays.
When successful, commercial insect traps, such as glue traps, catch invading pests and kill them by starvation and dehydration. For an all-natural trap, place half a cantaloupe upside down in areas where pill bugs gather around your home.
Remove Plant Debris
Keep plants and mulches half a foot or more away from the walls of your home. Pill bugs eat decaying plant material, and keeping plants away from your home prevents pill bugs from becoming too attracted to that area. Remove dead plants and plant debris to further discourage pill bugs from gathering.
Reduce the moisture in your home as best as possible. Pill bugs have gills and require water to live. Locate the general area where pill bugs come in and use a moisture meter to pinpoint spots with high levels of moisture. Fix any leaky plumbing in that area and use moisture-proof insulation to block moisture from the outside. Problem areas usually include basements and crawl spaces.
Use Natural Predators
Pill bugs have several natural predators you can make use of outdoors. If your yard has a pond, get a small toad or small newt. Either predator will hunt pill bugs at night, reducing the total number of these pests loitering around your yard and, by extension, getting inside your home.
Caitlynn Lowe has been writing since 2006 and has been a contributing writer for Huntington University's "Mnemosyne" and "Huntingtonian." Her writing has also been in "Ictus" and "Struggle Creek: A Novel Story." Lowe earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Huntington University.