Potato Bugs Yikes! - Knowledgebase Question

San Diego, Ca
Question by realdahl
October 28, 2009
I live in an apartment on the ground floor. A few weeks ago hundreds of potato bugs made their way to my patio (and my neighbors' also). Where do they come from and how do I get rid of them besides sweeping them away twice a day? Some made their way into my apartment. Those little legs really move!

Answer from NGA
October 28, 2009


Let's make sure we are talking about the same thing - potato bugs are huge (the larvae of Jerusalem Crickets) and are a whitish/yellowish color. They're usually about two inches long. I have a feeling your infestation is with pill bugs (also called roly poly or sow bugs). These are a grayish color and roll into a little ball when they are disturbed. If this is what you have, they are not harmful to you or your garden plants. They live in organic matter at the soil surface and feed on decomposing plant parts. If they are marching around it means their home has been disturbed (maybe someone raked up the mulch in the garden - or another neighbor disassembled their patio garden and the bugs had to make a run for it). In any event they are searching for another likely abode. Sweeping them away is your best defense. There are no pesticides that work well against them. They will continue on their journey to another garden spot if you gently sweep them away.

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