What Is A Sow Bug?

What is a sow bug? A sow bug, also sometimes known as a woodlouse, is an oval creature not larger than 1 centimeter long, with a flat body

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Although many people think of them as bugs, sow bugs are crustaceans that live on the land and not bugs. The other closest crustacean is, perhaps, the pill bug, which also has a similar physical appearance.

Close Up And Personal With Sow Bugs

The main difference between pill bugs and sow bugs is that sow bugs do not roll up, even when they are disturbed. But there is another important difference between these two land-living crustaceans and that is that sow bugs have two appendages that, at least to the naked eye, look like two tails, but pill bugs do not.

So, if you look at sow bugs and pill bugs closely, you will notice the differences.

Image source: Wikipedia

Why Do We Get Sow bugs?

If you have noticed sow bugs in your home, you might be wondering how on earth they got there. Understanding what environment sow bugs thrive at might not only help you prevent their appearance.

The first thing that you need to know about sow bugs is that they love moist habitats, so if you live somewhere with damp weather, you would be a lot more likely to encounter them at home.

But, how do they come inside? Sow bugs, like all other pests, can be very insidious. And because of their tiny size (about one centimeter), they can get inside easily through low windows and ground-level doors. But, you would be a lot more likely to see them in places where dampness can get to more easily. We are referring to places such as basements, garages, or backyard sheds, etc. Even the tiniest crack on the wall or the floor will be big enough for sow bugs to get into any damp areas in your home.

Another thing to bear in mind is that sow bugs are also attracted to plants (particularly lush, leafy plants), and much. So, if you have a lot of those in your yard or inside your wife, you would be likely to see sow bugs often. Usually, sow bugs will concentrate on mulch, the foundation of bushes, or pretty much anywhere around the garden. They thrive in that kind of habitat because they will find plenty of decomposing organic matter on which to munch there.

Even if your home is dry, you might still sow bugs that have come in from damp areas around it. But, because they need damp environments in which to thrive, sow bugs tend to die soon after coming into dry environments indoors. So, you are likely to come across sow bugs indoors. And, if you come across ones that are still alive, you can count on their death in a little while.

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. – Marcus Tullius Cicero

Image source: Wikipedia

Should You Be Worried About Sow Bugs?

Should you be worried about sow bugs if you see them either indoors or outdoors?

Whether you encounter them indoors in out in your yard, you need to know that these little creatures live in the soil (usually, indoors, in the soil of houseplants). They do not cause any real damage to plants and cause absolutely no harm indoors.

Can sow bugs bite humans? Sow bugs do not sting or bite human beings (or any other animals), so they are totally harmless to us and our pets. Sow bugs are just a nuisance and nothing more.

But, what if you see them indoors? Is that normal? What does it mean? If you can across even a small number of sow bugs indoors, this most probably means that there is a large population of them outside.

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Do You Want to Get Rid of Sow Bugs?

Although sow bugs are rather harmless, you might still want to get rid of them. The best way to do that is by eliminating any of hiding places sow bugs use. Anywhere that is dark, and damp would be an ideal environment for sow bugs to live in. If you have no dark or damp environments indoors, any existing sow bugs will leave or die there. And no new sow bugs will be attracted anymore.

But, there are plenty of other things that you can do if you want to prevent sow bugs or other pests.

The main thing you would need to do is to clean up. There are specific things that you would need to focus on and make sure that you clean up: firewood, for example, should be stacked off of the ground and, actually, moved away from the house. Sow bugs love to hide between or under logs, stones, and boards. Also, grass and dead leaves should be removed because they create the kind of environment that sow bugs love.

Another good tip to get rid of sow bugs is to put up a barrier. Because sow bugs love mulch so much, it is a good idea to move all the mulch away from the plant foundations in flowerbeds. Also, make sure that you keen some sort of buffer zone around your house (15 to 30 centimeters should usually do). That area should be completely free of leaves and mulch. Having that area will prevent pests (not just sow bugs) from nesting and then getting indoors through cracks, etc.

Also, try to keep any shrubs and limbs trimmed if they are causing a shady and damp environment around their foundations.

Then, there are a few things that you can do to your home to prevent sow bugs from getting inside. One thing would be to seal any holes and cracks. It is important to make sure that all exterior doors and windows close tightly. Take a look around the house and decide if you need to replace anything that might have become damaged.

The other thing that you can do in order to prevent sow bugs from getting indoors would be to reduce moisture. This can be achieved by waterproofing to ensure that no dampness gets into your basement. Also, using a dehumidifier in your basement might help.

But, remember that sow bugs do not cause any damage or harm.

Juan Ramos

When people ask me why I write, I tell them that I do it so I can learn. The main reason I became a writer is my insatiable curiosity. My favorite part of writing is researching and learning about new topics.

I hold a BA in English Studies from the University of La Laguna and an MA in English literature from the Open University.

Cite this article as:
Juan Ramos. What Is A Sow Bug?, Science Trends, 2018.
DOI: 10.31988/SciTrends.25113
*Note, DOIs are registered Friday weekly and therefore may not work until then.

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