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Q 451 We have sow bugs/pill bugs drowning in our pool! In the morning we have at least 100 in the same spot in the shallow end. We think they are hiding under the interlocking stone deck around the pool during the day (which we cant obviously remove). Is there ANYTHING we can put down to deter these bugs from going into the pool in the dark and drowning. As the summer progresses the numbers are increasing!  Diane, Toronto.
This is a strange but common behavior that can be difficult to control.  You do not want to spray pesticides where people may walk in bare feet.  You may reduce the populations by sprinkling a small amount of diatomaceous earth on the deck stones then brushing it into the cracks.  
Q 489  Are sowbugs what Newfoundlanders call carpenters. They look alike in pictures.  Kim.   St. John's, Newfoundland.
Newfoundlanders have an interesting and entertaining language of their own.  They have names for things that many of us have never heard of.   If they look like sow bugs or pill bugs, that's probably what they are.  There is nothing else with this appearance.
Q 462  I read up on sow bugs and seem to have a problem. Our well is on our property and we noticed a smell in the water. When I looked in the well the inside rings were covered with sow bugs. They were falling in the water and, I assume, creating the odour. As well our patio was covered with them last evening. We have always noticed them but have become concerned lately due to the numbers and water situation. Any suggestions as to how to safely rid them around our well.  Svein.  Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.
Keeping them away from your well would be a difficult task. They like moisture.  I would concentrate on sealing the well head to keep them out.  You certainly do not want to use any pesticides near a well.
Q 461   Hi, Great sight ! What do pill bugs and sow bugs eat? Thanks,  Dave
We get so many questions about sow and pill bugs we have added another page of information about them as well as their relatives, millipedes and centipedes.  Sow and pill bugs usually eat decaying plant matter but will also chew on tender new shoots.   See the other interesting facts here.
Q 450  What type of pesticide should I use to eliminate sow bugs?  Jean,  Halifax, Nova Scotia.
If the sow bugs are outside, they are not much of a problem. If they are inside, reduce the moisture problem.  Our Sow Bug web page has more information.
Q 448  I have sow bugs or pill bugs that have taken up home in the base of a mature locust tree. Should I chisel out the whole area or can I spray it with something that will kill the bugs. Thank you.  Roger,  Wheaton 
Why do you want to kill the sow bugs?  They are not causing a problem. They have taken up residence in a location that is wet.  If  you want to save the tree and it has some wet rotting wood at the base, you should talk to a tree specialist at a local garden shop. 
Q 443  I am bothered by millipedes and live in a condo. I imagine they are in the mulch. It was recommended I keep mulch away from foundation. I am not allowed to do this as it keeps moisture in the plantings. Do you have any recommendations as to what I could use to discourage this pest?  Evelyn
Damp or wet mulch will encourage insects, especially if it is not kept below the level of the building siding or stucco. Ask your condo association to seriously consider the damage that might result from this condition. All pest control professionals will suggest keeping mulch levels low around foundations.
Q 439  My question is about Sow bugs. I have a lot in my basement and they keep coming at night time. When i turn on the light they run everywhere and hide in the carpet. I have seen them outside before too. Do u have any tips to get rid of them, or have any kind of spray to kill them. can u give me the name of the spray and the cost. please let me know A.S.A.P.  thanks.  I. Kahn.  Vancouver
Are you sure they are sow bugs.  Sow bugs do not move very fast and turning on a light doesn't usually bother them that much. Read the information on our sow bug page Pesticide sprays are not a permanent solution to this problem.
Q 420  I've read the sow bug page and although I read moisture to be the reason for a sow bug problem I don't think I have a moisture problem. What  I do have is centipedes and sow bugs coming into all rooms. Our basement was flooded 6 years ago when a city water main broke. The main basement area was re-carpeted but there is one bedroom that the carpet was dried and left in. there is an under the stairs storage area with boxes etc. All the walls are finished so I don't have access to any cracks that might exist. I have taken out vegetation by the house. I have used borax and sugar with some degree of success. Is there anything I can use to keep them out of the basement? Looking forward to any suggestions. Sheila,  Moose Jaw, Sask.
The fact that you have centipedes as well as sow bugs is clear evidence that there is a high moisture problem.  Because they both breathe through gills, they can not survive in a dry environment. If you check the sow bug page again, you will see why borax and sugar is not going to be effective.  You may have to consider purchasing a de-humidifier if the problem is bothersome.
Question #119
Does Pill bug bite human skin? I got some bug bites on my legs and when i scrathes it, it buff up red bumps like mosquito bites and at the same time, I found some pill bug around my apartment. My apartment has hardwood floor but there are cracks between the woods.
Pill bugs are harmless to humans. You may have fleas, bed bugs or spiders. 
Question #111
We have a composter and have a tremendous amount of sow bugs living in it. Is this a good thing or should I try and get rid of them. Tracey,  Hamilton, Ontario
I am not a gardener but I understand sow bugs perform the same function as earth worms in compost. Leave them. Besides that, pesticides are not wanted in composted soil.
Question #130
I have a bug invading my cold room (along with a lot of spiders also). Either the spiders (which I have seen for a while) or this new bug is actually crumbling some of the cement at the corners (especially at the ceiling where it is damp. The bugs are about 3/4 inches long, lots of legs along the sides, two longer black legs or antennae, a fairly uniform long oval shaped body which is almost black. Any suggestions?
Lori.  Mississauga, Ontario
Your description sounds like sow bugs.  Have a look at the pictures on this page. Sow  Bugs.  They can only live in damp places so the solution is pretty obvious.  If these insects are crumbling the cement the pest control industry has a new challenge that is much more serious than termites. Are you sure about this?.
Question #98
How do you get ride of saw bugs or wood bugs my parents house is covered in them they are on the siding on the out side please help write back soon Thanks,  Kathleen.  Westmont, Nova Scotia.
Are you sure they are "sow" bugs? They need to live in a very damp environment and are seldom seen in any large numbers on the exposed siding of a home. Is the wall shaded and wet?  There are a number of good tips on the sow bugs page.
Question #75*
I'm doing a research project for school on sow bugs but I can't find any I've never seen one that I know of or have any info on them and not many people know much about them. My question how do I find sow bugs in the middle of fall?  Nikki
Hi Nikki:  This is what they look like.  You should be able to find them in any wooded area.  Look under a piece of old wet wood on the ground. (They must be in a pretty wet place) Here on the west coast where the climate is quite warm at this time of year, they are everywhere.. especially under plant pots outside. ( sow bug page )
Question #66
Do sow bugs have any natural predators? What chemical (for outdoors) works best to control them?  Derek.
Spiders are the most common predator. The hard outer shell deters many others. Outdoor pesticides have very little long term effect on sow and pill bugs. Read the prevention tips on the sow bug page. 
The sowbug section here is very good. Sowbugs and pillbugs are actually crustaceans (related to shrimp & lobsters) and are absolutely dependent on moisture. As the guide here notes, if you remove or reduce the source of the moisture, or get rid of the habitat, then the sowbugs will largely disappear. If you find them inside in your basement, it is also a sign of moisture problems. Glue boards work quite well on catching sow bugs, but if you don't address the cause, the problem won't go away.
Sam Bryks,  Manager, Pest Control MTHC,  Toronto. email: 
Question #62
Is it true that sow bugs, unlike pill bugs, do NOT curl up into balls when it feels disturbed? Kaitlyn
The pill bug will roll up in a ball when disturbed. The sow bug cannot ball up. It has two tail-like appendages on the tip of it's abdomen.
Question #61
I live in Central Florida and have a problem with a large number of sow bugs, or pill bugs not sure which, entering my house. What can I do, and will they destroy anything in the house? ie carpet, furniture.   Mathew
You will find your answers on the sow bug page.
Question # 37
You say that they are not harmful. I am disturbed that these bugs are eating up the bark and nesting by the thousands in my 25 year old linden tree. I think that I may loose the tree. It is only August and 3 weeks ago some leaves have been turning yellow and dropping. I thought I would check the tree trunk and was upset when I discovered these bugs taking over. Is there any hope for my linden tree? I absolutely don't find anything good about these critters.  Irene
They are not usually considered harmful pests in a home but many people complain about damage they cause in the garden. We may try to expand this web site to deal with garden pests in the next few months but we are not gardening experts.  Are the bugs there because the tree is dying, or is the tree dying because of the sow bugs? There may be a fungus present that is a food source for them. There are poisons available to control them but they should be used very sparingly and only according to the label directions. You may also kill beneficial insects and other creatures. Be careful. Talk to a  a certified pesticide dispenser at your local garden shop. 
Question # 22
We have a huge sow bug problem in our newly finished basement. We purchased a dehumidifier and have been using it for over a week but our creepy crawly friends are still plentiful. Is there anything we can use to rid the problem. I have two small children (one has asthma) and am very nervous about chemicals. Unfortunately, the bugs are making life in the play room and family room unbearable. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!  George.
It can take a year or longer for the moisture in new building materials (wood framing, drywall mud, etc) to dissipate. Check outside to make sure there is no wood to soil contact, minimum vegetation against the walls or any other reason to create moisture problems.  I  tell my customers to create a one foot desert around the house. The moisture can result in mould spores which are unhealthy for your child with asthma. Keep using the dehumidifier and get lots of ventilation.


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