How to Get Rid of Pill Bugs in Your Garden?

How to Get Rid of Pill Bugs in Your Garden?

Pill bugs, also known as roly-poly or sow bugs, can sometimes become a nuisance in the garden. While they play a vital role in breaking down organic matter, an overabundance can damage your plants. Here are some effective methods to control and manage the population of pill bugs in your garden.

How to Get Rid of Pill Bugs in Your Garden?



Remove Hiding Places

Pill bugs thrive in damp and dark hiding spots. Keep your garden tidy by removing wet leaves, fallen fruit, and dead plant matter. Avoid overwatering, as excess moisture attracts pill bugs.

Set Traps

Setting traps can be an effective solution if you notice an imbalance in the pill bug population. Check traps daily and either discard or transplant the pill bugs to other areas of your yard. Citrus or fruit traps, beer or yeast traps, and potato or other vegetable traps are all effective methods.

Use Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a safe and natural way to desiccate pill bugs, causing them to dry out and perish. Apply diatomaceous earth along the edges of garden beds or around plants that are being damaged by pill bugs.

Use Insecticides

Insecticides, such as pyrethrins, can be employed to control pill bugs. However, it’s crucial to use them judiciously and adhere to the instructions on the label. Avoid excessive use to maintain a balance in your garden’s ecosystem.

Physical Removal

A hands-on approach involves physically removing pill bugs from your garden. Handpick them and place them in a bucket of soapy water. This method allows for immediate control without the use of chemicals.

Expert Gardening Tips

  • Regularly inspect your garden for potential hiding places and address them promptly.
  • Experiment with different types of traps to find the most effective solution for your specific garden conditions.
  • Combine methods for a comprehensive and sustainable approach to managing pill bug populations.
  • Remember that pill bugs contribute to soil health by breaking down organic matter; strive to control rather than eliminate them.


What are pill bugs and why are they a problem in gardens?

A: Pill bugs, also known as roly-polies or sowbugs, are crustaceans that are typically found in moist, dark environments. They are primarily scavengers and feed on decaying organic matter. While pill bugs are generally harmless, they can become a nuisance in gardens when their populations grow too large. They may damage seedlings and young plants by feeding on their roots and stems.

Are pill bugs harmful to plants?

In moderate numbers, pill bugs contribute positively to your garden by breaking down organic matter. However, an overabundance can lead to damage, especially to low-growing plants and seedlings.

What are some signs of pill bug infestation in gardens?

Some signs that may indicate a pill bug infestation in gardens include:

  • Small, round holes in leaves or stems of plants: Pill bugs may leave these holes as they feed on plant tissues.

  • Presence of pill bugs under mulch or garden debris: Pill bugs prefer moist, sheltered environments, so they often congregate under mulch, dead leaves, or other garden debris.

  • Damage to seedlings or young plants: If you notice wilting, stunted growth, or unexplained damage to young plants, pill bugs may be the culprit.

Can I eliminate pill bugs from my garden?

While it’s not necessary to eliminate pill bugs, you can control their population. Aim for a balanced approach that prevents significant damage to your plants without disrupting the ecosystem.

What are some methods to get rid of pill bugs in gardens?

There are several methods to control pill bug populations in gardens, including:

  • Eliminate their habitat: Reducing the availability of moist, sheltered areas can discourage pill bugs from taking up residence in your garden. Remove piles of mulch, dead leaves, and other debris that provide favorable conditions for pill bugs.

  • Use traps: Traps, such as shallow containers filled with beer or soapy water, can attract and capture pill bugs. Check and empty the traps regularly to maintain their effectiveness.

  • Apply diatomaceous earth: Diatomaceous earth is a natural substance that has sharp, microscopic particles that can dehydrate and kill pill bugs. Spread diatomaceous earth around plants and garden areas where pill bugs are active.

  • Encourage natural predators: Attract natural predators of pill bugs, such as birds, toads, and ground beetles, to help control their populations. Provide bird feeders and create habitats for toads and ground beetles to encourage their presence in your garden.

  • Use chemical control: In severe cases, chemical pesticides specifically designed for pill bugs may be used. However, this should be considered a last resort due to the potential impact on beneficial insects and wildlife.

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