Types of Pill Bugs in Tennessee

Most characteristic of pill bugs is their tendency to roll into a tiny ball when they feel threatened; you probably remember poking at them at some point in your childhood. By far the most common species of this woodlouse in Tennessee is scientifically referred to as Armadillidium vulgare, aka the common pill bug. 

What is a pill bug?

The pill bug is considered an isopod, which is a type of arthropod and an order of crustacean. Therefore, these bugs are not technically insects and are rather considered a terrestrial crustacean—related to shrimp, crabs, and lobsters, and shrimp. Introduced to the Americas from Europe, this pest is not native to the United States. 

Other common names for the pill bug include:

  • roly-poly
  • slater
  • doodlebug

How do you identify the common pill bug?

Often lumped together as one, pill bugs and sow bugs are actually different creatures despite both being isopods and closely resembling each other. The best way to discern between the two is in the pill bug’s nickname: Roly-polies can roll themselves into a ball, whereas sow bugs can’t. 

Pill bugs are nocturnal and thus less active during the day, when they can be found hanging around dark, damp, and humid places such as under rocks, logs, or other fallen debris. Pill bugs have segmented bodies and an overall appearance comparable to that of armadillos.

The following are identifying features of pill bugs:

  • About half an inch long (adults)
  • Gray to brown in color
  • Seven pairs of legs (one for each thorax segment)
  • One pair of two antennae 
  • Rolls completely into a ball when disturbed

Do pill bugs cause damage?

Pill bugs may feed on plant seedlings or roots, making them a minor agricultural pest when they cause destruction damage to fruits, vegetables, and other types of crops. Otherwise, pill bugs mainly feed on decaying organic matter or decomposing materials like plant leaves. They are slow movers and cannot bite or sting, making them a non-threatening pest to people. Pill bugs aren’t known to contaminate food or cause health issues. 

Tennessee Pill Bug Control and Elimination

Almost anyone with a yard in Tennessee can end up with a pill bug infestation on their hands. Once they find their way in, pill bugs can begin to invade your home and become a nuisance. The experts at U.S. Pest Protection implement the most effective pest control methods for pill bugs, ensuring they’re sealed out from entering your home and kept at bay outside. If pill bugs become a bother, tell them to get rolling and schedule your free inspection today!

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