The Q&A Archives: Pill Bugs in Garden

Question: My garden has been invaded with "pill" bugs. They are everywhere and I am wondering if they are harmful to my plants and flowers or if they contribute in some positive way to my garden. If they are harmful to my garden what is the best way to deter them.

Answer: Pillbugs, or sowbugs, are one of those beneficial soil dwelling critters that consumes decaying organic debris. They help break down dead plant matter, so killing them isn't recommended. Sometimes their populations, especially in cool, damp soils, gets overwhelming and they begin to attack living plant material. You can trap them by placing damp folded newspapers on the soil in the evening. The bugs will crawl between the folds to hide. In the morning pick up the newspapers and put them in the compost pile, where the bugs will help break down plant debris. After a few days of transporting the bugs out of your garden, you won't have such a problem with them, and they'll be in the compost where they can do the most good.

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