Gray Bugs In Soil - Knowledgebase Question

Baisden, WV
Question by dana40
May 31, 2001
I have these bugs in my soil on several of my plants. I used to see them in my dad's garden on his potatoe plants. They are dark gray with an oval shape they also stay under rocks and things. Will these damage my plants? Thanks


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Answer from NGA
May 31, 2001

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. 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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