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Actual Size: ¼ – ½”

Characteristics: Oval; dark to slate gray in color.

Legs: Yes = 14.

Antennae: 2 pairs

Wings: No

Habitat: Attracted to areas of moisture; often underneath mulch, leaves, stones, etc.


  • Pillbugs can roll up into a ball; sowbugs can not.
  • When disturbed or threatened, will roll up into a tight ball.
  • Attracted to moisture, and will only survive for a few days indoors.

Pillbugs in Salina

One amazing fact about pillbugs is that they’re crustaceans – which means, yes, they’re more closely related to crabs and shrimp than insects. Pillbugs and sowbugs are similar-looking and the names are often used interchangeably, though they are not the same. Only pillbugs can roll up into a tight ball when disturbed or threatened, so only they can accurately be called “roly polies.” Pillbugs’ backs are made up of seven hard individual plates.

Pillbug Habitat

Pillbugs thrive in moist environments and can be found outdoors under mulch, fallen leaves, and rocks. Pillbugs are nocturnal and require humid conditions during the day. These crustaceans are generally found in moist soil along with sowbugs, millipedes, and earthworms. Pillbugs may leave their natural habitats at night and crawl about over sidewalks, patios, and foundations. They can become a nuisance as they often invade crawl spaces, damp basements, and first floors of structures at ground level. Since pillbugs require moisture, they do not survive indoors for more than a few days unless there are very moist or damp conditions.

Pillbug Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Pillbugs do not bite or sting and are not known to pose any threats to humans. They do not contaminate food or spread diseases. Pillbugs are mainly a nuisance pest, especially when they venture indoors. They are capable of feeding on tender plant tissue and occasionally cause considerable damage to garden transplants and seedlings. Pillbugs typically enter buildings through door thresholds, especially homes with sliding glass doors on the ground level. Seeing a pillbug in the home usually means that there is a large population outdoors.

If you have a pillbug problem in your Salina property, contact your local exterminators.

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