How to Get Rid of Sow Bugs: Control House, Basement & Garden Infestations


Sow bugs are small in size and are often mistaken for pill bugs, also known as ‘rollie pollies’. The difference between the two is sow bugs don’t roll up in a ball like pill bugs. You will find sows in areas where there is plenty of moisture commonly found in gardens and flower beds.

There are steps you can take to help keep sow bugs out of your garden, as no one likes to see a ton of bugs eating the plant leaves and flowers they spent so much time planting. They could come into your home if there is a lot of humidity as they can enter through cracks or any openings close to the foundation.

Even though sow bugs are really harmless they can be annoying if there is an infestation in your home. They will also eat off the of the plants in your garden and can do a lot of damage if they are in large numbers. There are ways to get rid of sow bugs.

Do basic things to help get rid of sowbugs

Get a dehumidifier

Get a dehumidifier and put it in the room where you see the most sow bugs. A dehumidifier it will take out the moisture in the air and dry up the bugs. Since they have gills they need moisture to breathe. Then vacuum them up and you will not see any more bugs trying to come in as there will not be enough humidity for them to survive.

Clean up around your home

Clean up around your home to prevent sow bugs from sticking around. Remove any debris in the garden including dead plants, unnecessary bricks, and wooden planks. If you have firewood sitting close to your home move it at least 10 feet away.

Seal up cracks

Make it difficult for the sow bugs to enter your home by sealing up any cracks near the soil with caulking. There is no need to use chemicals to kill the sow bugs as there are other ways to get rid of sow bugs. They are not dangerous and are not hard to get rid of.

Remove rotten fruits

Remove any fruits from trees that may have fallen from the tree limbs or are ripe from the ground. If there are fruits that are rotten on the ground this will also attract sow bugs. Remove these fruits from your property.

Remove sow bugs by hand

Gather the visible sow bugs in your home by hand and those that are on your plants and put them in a bucket. Once you gathered as many as you could you place them in a worm bed for vermicomposting or in a compost pile so they can do something useful by breaking down organic material.

Place diatomaceous earth in the soil of young plants to help keep the sow bugs away or you can place coarse mulch including bark around the flower bed that will help remove some of the moisture from the soil.

Another technique is to dig around your flower bed and send a trail back to a compost pile or elsewhere away from your garden.

Keeping your home humidity level reduced will help prevent any sow bugs from entering. By using flowers in your flower bed that don’t need a lot of water can also deter sow bugs from coming around. Avoid over watering your plants to help keep your soil dryer.

Take the following steps to make sure that you won’t have an infestation around or in your home.

  • Use a Dehumidifier in your home.
  • Clean up around the exterior base of your home.
  • Clean up any fruits on the ground.
  • Use diatomaceous earth in the soil with young plants.
  • Make a trail from plants to a compost pile to send sow bugs elsewhere.

Further Sow Bug Resources…

  1. Pillbugs and Sowbugs (Land Isopods) – Missouri Department of Conversation
  2. Pill Bug Infestation (Control & Get RID of Pill Bugs Naturally) – NeverPest
  3. Sowbugs of Kentucky – University of Kentucky
Categorized as Sow Bugs

By David Jackson

I enjoy learning about new pest control strategies and sharing what I learn at I aim to create a reliable resource for people dealing with all sorts of pest issues.

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