Is It Dangerous To Have Sowbugs Around My Maryland Home?


There may be plenty of bugs that invade your Maryland home. Sowbugs probably aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when you consider all of your pest problems. However, they can be very invasive and hard to keep out, and no matter what kind of pest is invading your property, it’s never a fun feeling to have bug problems. If you don’t know anything at all about sowbugs, that’s okay. The more you learn about these peculiar pests, the more prepared you’ll be to defend your home and yard.

a sow bug on a house plant

Soil-Dwelling Sowbugs

Sowbugs are small, flat, and oval in shape. They’re also incredibly small, measuring up to one centimeter long at the most. While their bodies are very small, their presence is not. Traveling in large packs, sowbugs can overwhelm your garden, searching through the soil for decaying plant and insect matter.
Many people get them confused with pillbugs, but there are a few ways to tell the difference. Pillbugs roll up into a ball when they’re disturbed, while sowbugs simply scurry away. Also, they feature two rear appendages that make it look like they are a two-tailed property invader (when in reality, these appendages are just feelers).
In spite of these differences, sowbugs belong to the same family as pillbugs, so they also belong to the same family as…lobsters? It’s true: sowbugs are considered crustaceans that live on land. However, they do require a lot of moisture in order to survive, which is why they frequently remain in moist soil where they can have access to plenty of water. While they aren’t a health threat, they can cause problems in the yard for young vegetation. Plus, if they wind up in your home, they’ll usually die and attract other pests who feed on decaying vegetation.

Property Prevention And Home Protection

When sowbugs enter your home, they are only trying to find a more sustainable source of moisture. Unless you’re allowing excess moisture to buildup, then they won’t be able to survive. While it’s rare, finding one in the house is a strong indication of a problematic infestation in the yard since they travel in such large groups.

While there is no way to guarantee a pest-free home on your own, the following moisture control and general maintenance techniques can reduce your chances of incurring a sowbug infestation:

  • Clean up the clutter: clutter buildup in the yard can provide places for sowbugs to hide and allow for moisture to build up in the soil underneath. However, open spaces in the yard will allow for even moisture distribution and create a less conducive environment for sowbugs.

  • Buffering: creating a buffer against sowbugs can help deter their entering your home. Move any mulch, leaves, and soil about 30 centimeters away from your home’s foundation. As they’re crawling around in the moist soil, they won’t want to venture over dry land to enter your house.

  • Sealing entry points: cracks and crevices in your home’s foundation can allow these small, flat pests to gain entry very easily. Apply new weather-stripping to all exterior doors and seal up any cracks with caulking.

  • Reduce moisture buildup: using a dehumidifier in poorly ventilated areas and checking your pipes for leaks can reduce moisture issues inside your house. Plus, you’ll want to use a gutter and downspout system to expel rainwater. Otherwise, the water could pool up next to your house, making the most desirable soil for sowbugs right next to the structure.

While all of these methods can be effective, nothing provides the guaranteed assurance of a pest-free home the way professional solutions can. Contact Capitol Pest for more advice or assistance on keeping sowbugs out for good. We provide pest protection against a long list of pests, including sowbugs.

Tags: home pest control | sowbugs | occasional pest prevention |

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