Types of Sow Bugs in Tennessee

Sometimes simply referred to as “woodlice,” sow bugs spend their lives consuming organic matter among the soil, mulch, and wood found in backyards everywhere. The common sow bug, scientifically named Oniscus asellus, is the most common type of this land-living crustacean in Tennessee. 

What is a sow bug?

Both sow bugs and pill bugs are woodlice, and their habitats are similar: underneath wood, logs, stones, logs, leaf litter, compost, and mulch. These cousin pests also prefer moist, cool, and dark areas. Often considered one and the same, sow bugs and pill bugs are actually different creatures despite being isopods and closely resembling each other. While pill bugs (aka roly-polies) can roll themselves into a ball when frightened, sow bugs cannot. 

How do you identify the common sow bug?

Sow bugs have segmented, oval, and bean-shaped bodies with two small tail-like appendages at their rear ends (unlike pill bugs).

The following are other identifying features of sow bugs:

  • About half an inch long (adults)
  • Gray or occasionally orange in color
  • Seven pairs of legs (one for each thorax segment)
  • Two pairs antennae (second pair is not easily visible) 
  • Flatter bodies than pill bugs
  • Do not roll into a ball when disturbed

Do sow bugs cause damage?

Sow bugs occasionally feed on young plants, making them a minor agricultural pest if they inflict minor damage to fruits, vegetables, and other types of crops. Otherwise, sow 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 but nuisance pest. Sow bugs aren’t known to cause health issues in people or contaminated food sources. 

Tennessee Sow Bug Control and Elimination

If you experience the misfortune of a sow bug infestation, they can be difficult to eliminate without professional help. The pest control experts at U.S. Pest Protection are trained to treat your sow bug problem seriously and with care—so schedule a free home inspection to start getting rid of sow bugs today.

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