Eliminating Pill Bugs - Knowledgebase Question

Cypress, CA
Avatar for nalla1
Question by nalla1
April 11, 2000
Pill Bugs are having a feast on my ripe strawberries. I planted them last year, but didn't use any black plastic.

How do I get rid of them before they become fat and happy bugs! There are a LOT of them, so is there some sort of organic way of getting rid of them?

Answer from NGA
April 11, 2000
Sowbugs (or pill bugs) feed primarily on decaying plant material and are very important in the process of decomposing organic matter in the garden. However, they may occasionally feed on seedlings, new roots, and leaves that are touching damp soil surfaces. Sowbugs breathe through gills and require a moist environment. Try to limit moisture on the soil surface by using a coarse mulching material such as bark mulch that will allow moisture to pass quickly through, down into the soil. Also try to remove old decaying leaves from the plants, and eliminate hiding places in the garden such as boards, flowerpots and groundcovers like ivy. Black plastic mulches are also helpful in discouraging sowbugs because they eliminate soil dampness and get too hot in the summertime to provide shelter for sowbugs. You can also spread sharp sand or diatomaceous Earth around plantings to discourage these bugs. They don't like the sharp edges of these materials, but both materials will have to be reapplied after a rain.

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