When you think of crustaceans, you probably picture crabs or lobsters in the ocean. Some people might dream of putting those crustaceans into soups, or on their plates, while others might enjoy watching them while snorkeling or scuba diving beneath the waves. If you were to tell these people that they had a crustacean living in their home, they would probably be extremely concerned about your mental sanity, pat you on the head and tell you were crazy because their home isn’t fit for any crustaceans. Or maybe they’d look around for shopping bags full of crab and lobster, salivating at the thought of a delicious dinner. People don’t have quite the same reaction when you explain that sow bugs, a common household pest, are crustaceans. In fact, if you did see them getting ready to eat after hearing that information, you might be concerned with their mental sanity. Especially since people say sow bugs taste like strong urine. (Who is actually eating these bugs? Do they have scientists in a lab somewhere in Switzerland sampling bugs? Even worse, how does someone know what strong urine tastes like? We may never know.)
Sow bugs are most likely secret spy masterminds, on account of the fact they have a bunch of names that they are known by. Seriously, who else besides con men and spies has 15 different names? Sow bugs are in the woodlouse family, and are also known as armadillo bugs, roly-polys, roll up bugs, chuggy pigs, wood bugs, doodlebugs, potato bugs, slaters, gramersows, butcher boys, boat builders, carpenter bugs, or, our personal favorite, cheese logs. (We think the people who came up with the last one were starving and needed to help themselves feel better about eating bugs for dinner. And I guess we just solved the mystery of who has been eating sow bugs and knows what they taste like. We still want to know how they can compare it to urine, though…)
You may have heard of the term pill bugs in relation to sow bugs. Pill bugs are also woodlice, but pill bugs and sow bugs are not the same type of crustacean.
Pill bugs have a shell that lets them roll firmly into a ball, or “pill” shape for protection, while sow bugs, and most other woodlice, cannot. Instead, sow bugs can fold themselves into tiny taco shapes, which, from our point of view at Landmark Home Warranty, seems like the sow bugs got the short end of the stick. Pill bugs can roll up into pill shapes, and everyone knows nobody wants to eat a pill, but sow bugs fold up into tacos, which, if we were the predators, would just make us want to eat them more because tacos are delicious.
You can tell the difference between a pill bug and a sow bug fairly easily. They both have a hard, ridged and plated exoskeleton, but pill bugs’ shells are u shapes that have rounded edges to make it easier for them to roll into a pill shape. Sow bugs have flat ends to their body segments. Sow bugs look like this:
Sow bugs have tapered bodies with fourteen legs. They have small round heads and jointed antennae.
WHY ARE SOW BUGS PESTS?
Generally sow bugs live in moist environments, like rotting plants, but they also can live in gardens and eat fresh vegetables. They don’t bite, sting, pinch or cause flesh melting juice to squirt out of their abdomens. As far as humans are concerned, the most a sow bug can do for protection is to roll up like a taco at them, and generally that doesn’t hurt. Maybe if you’re really hungry and there aren’t any tacos in sight. However, sow bugs have been known to infest and invade homes that have moist wood inside of them, which can be fairly disgusting, even though they are rather small. If you have a few sow bugs in your home, they probably accidentally took a wrong turn into your home because their GPS ran out of batteries on the way to the compost pile. They’re not much to worry about, and will quickly die because of the lack of moisture in your home. However, if you start seeing mass amounts of sow bugs in your home, it might be time to look into the problem. Getting rid of sow bugs is the first step in realizing your home might have too high of a moisture content. Until you fix the moisture in your home, you can try and get rid of the sow bugs all you want, but they will keep coming back to hang out in your damp house.
HOW DO I GET RID OF SOW BUGS?
You can always do preventative maintenance to your home, which includes patching any leaks from pipes that might be causing damp areas, or caulking windows and doors. Make sure the foundation of your home isn’t covered with decaying rotting plants, unless, of course, you’re going for the haunted house look, in which case carry on ahead, and enjoy the natural creepiness of thousands of sow bugs coming into your home. If you already have an infestation of sow bugs, before you work on getting the moisture out of your home, you need to get rid of them. If you have a home warranty company you can save a lot of money on