What are they, and how do I kill them?

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by Paulina, Apr 29, 2006.

  1. Paulina

    Paulina Active Member

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    Location:
    Upper Fraser Valley, Beautiful British Columbia!
    I have these little bugs, the ones you see when you pick up a pot off the ground that's been there for a while. They're grey, oval, and I think they're guilty of eating my marigold seedling's leaves! They're starting to get into some of my other seedlings in my greenhouse. How do I get rid of them?

    I did a search for them on the net, but I don't know what they're called... they almost look fuzzy, but they're not Aphids.
     
  2. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    sowbugs or pillbugs. some roll, some dont (cant). :)
     
  3. Weekend Gardener

    Weekend Gardener Active Member 10 Years

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    Sowbugs, pillbugs, wood lice, potato bug, ...........

    They do not, in general, cause harm to human beings or structures or plants. The only exception is if they are present in large numbers in greenhouses, in which case they have been known to cause damage to young plants. They favour moist environment, hence, the fact that you see them everytime you lift up a piece of wood, or a flower pot. They die if the environment gets too dry. Their presence is usually an indication of the presence of moisture and decaying organic material.

    You can tell the difference between a pillbug (Armadillididae) by their tendency to roll up when you poke them. Sowbugs don't. Sowbugs do not belong to just one species of creature - it is a collective term for a number of creatures, commonly in the families Porcellionidae and Oniscidae .

    They are much maligned creatures, unjustifiably so. Unless you have large numbers congregating in one location with clear evidence of destructions to your plants, they are in general harmless. And if you see them under a piece of rotting wood, don't assume that they are the cause of the rotting. Rather, they are there to take advantage of the rotting process, by relishing on the organic detritus.
     
  4. Paulina

    Paulina Active Member

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    ugh... just did a search on google, they look so disgustingly creepy when they're blown up that big! I'm guessing they are sowbugs because these guys don't roll up when I touch them. Is there a way to get rid of them? It is a moist environment because it's my greenhouse, so I'm guessing it makes for a happy breeding ground for them and I would rather get rid of them than wait for them to breed.
     
  5. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  6. sue1

    sue1 Active Member 10 Years

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    Hi Paulina. The sow and pill bugs usually hang out together. I have them everywhere on my property - in my wood mulch, under rocks, even in my veggie garden. They have never caused any problem with my plants or seedlings, so I leave them be. Maybe something else is attacking your plants?

    Sue
     
  7. gardener_dragon

    gardener_dragon Member

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    Sowbugs and pillbugs are very good bugs to have around. They eat decaying organic matter and aeriate the soil. Where you have these bugs you will usually have earth worms(not normally in pots unless placed on the ground). I have millions of these bugs and have never had a problem. They are one of the bugs thats welcome in my yard.

    If I rake around in the leaves under my trees I will find them,I will also find the decayed leaves they have turned into a very good,very light medium to plant with.
     
  8. allison

    allison Member

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    Hi Paulina,

    I have the same problem with sowbugs. They are everywhere in my yard. I never had a problem with them where I lived before, but there are so many in our yard here that they are eating my annual seedlings and, last year, my strawberries.

    Here are some suggestions from the Gardens West forum: http://www.gardenswest.com/forum/messageview.cfm?catid=4&threadid=36&enterthread=y

    I haven't tried these yet, but I bought some diatomaceous earth earth today to see if that would help.

    Good luck!
     
  9. terrestrial_man

    terrestrial_man Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    The easiest way to control sowbugs is:
    1. keep it clean-remove any debris in the areas you do not want
    the critters
    2. keep it dry-control or contain your watering and its flow across
    your property so that it will drain off or soak into those areas that are cleared of debris!
    Be thankful they aren't slugs!!!!
     

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