Sowbugs & Pillbugs

Sowbugs and pillbugs, sometimes called β€œwoodlice,” live outdoors, but they may occasionally enter homes in damp areas such as basements, first floor levels and garages. These creatures are a nuisance by their presence; they do not bite humans nor damage structures or household possessions. However, if present in large numbers, they can feed on young plants in greenhouses. Some may crawl into swimming pools and drown, causing complaints. Those that wander into homes usually die in a few days unless they find a moist place near a leaky pipe or in a damp basement, bathroom or laundry room.


Sowbugs are oval or slightly elongate with a flattened body and up to 1.9-cm long. They are wingless, brownish or slate grey, and possess well-developed eyes, seven pairs of legs and overlapping β€œarmoured” plates that make them look like little armadillos. Sowbugs have two tail-like structures on the rear end. Pillbugs are similar, except they lack the tail-like appendages and can roll up into a tight ball. Both are slow-moving crustaceans closely related to yabbies, prawns and lobsters but not insects. The young resemble the adults, except they are smaller and lighter in colour.


Both sowbugs and pillbugs mate throughout the year, with most activity in the spring. The female carries the eggs, numbering from 7 to 200, in a brood pouch on the underside of her body. Eggs hatch in three to seven weeks and the young are white-coloured. They remain in the brood pouch for six to eight weeks until they are able to take care of themselves. There may be one to two generations per year, with individuals living up to three years depending on weather conditions.

These creatures live outdoors, feeding on decaying organic matter and occasionally young plants and their roots. They may become pests in and around homes where flower bed mulches, grass clippings, leaf litter, rotting boards, trash, rocks and pet droppings are present. Adequate moisture is essential for their survival, and they group in masses to reduce water loss. On a hot day, they remain under objects on the damp ground and are active only at night due to lower temperatures and more humid conditions. They become inactive during the winter months except in heated buildings such as greenhouses.

Book your pest control service today!


Since sowbugs and pillbugs require moisture to survive, it is important to keep the house and outside as dry as possible.


Remove hiding places such as piles of leaves, grass clippings, mulch in flower beds, fallen fruit, pet droppings, boxes, boards, stones and other debris from the foundation walls, doors, basement windows and other points of entry. Properly ventilate basements and subfloor crawl spaces to eliminate excess moisture. Repair and seal cracks and openings in the foundation wall, around doors, and around basement windows with caulking compound and weather stripping. Drain standing water and moist areas near potential points of entry.

Indoors, the use of fans and dehumidifiers will help dry out the basement and other damp rooms. These creatures can be collected with a broom and dustpan, vacuum cleaner or other mechanical means and discarded. Insecticide sprays usually are not needed indoors since sowbugs and pillbugs dry out quickly and die. However, household contact or residual sprays are sometimes used.


Outdoors, apply a residual treatment (protective barrier) to the soil in a three to six-foot band around the foundation walls, especially damp areas, surrounding the house and even underneath crawl spaces, at doorways, window wells, and other potential entry sites. It is helpful to rake mulch, leaves, etc. away from the house foundation before treatment. Sprays or dust of bendiocarb (Ficam), chlorpyrifos (Duration, Dursban, Empire, Engage), diazinon, propoxur (Baygon), carbaryl (Sevin), pyrethrins (Exciter, Kicker, Microcare, Pyrethrum, Safer) or resmethrin (Vectrin) are effective. Other labeled pesticides include acephate (Orthene), amorphous silica gel (Drione, Tri-Die), boric acid (Perma-Dust) and esfenvalerate (Conquer). Treatment of peat moss, leaves and bark used as plant mulches is important. Subsequent sprinkling with water will carry the pesticide down into the soil where these crustaceans hide. Materials such as fluvalinate (Mavrik, Yardex) are used outdoors.

Only the licensed pest control operator or applicator can apply bendiocarb + pyrethrins (Ficam Plus), cyfluthrin (Optem, Tempo), cypermethrin (Cyper-Active, Cynoff, Demon, Vikor), deltamethrin (Suspend), lambdacyhalothrin (Commodore), permethrin (Dragnet, Flee, Torpedo), propetamphos (Safrotin), and tralomethrin (Saga). Before application, always read and follow the pesticide label directions and safety precautions.

Contact us now at 1800 819 189 or fill out our online form for a free quote and expert advice on pest control solutions.

    Read the terms and condition here.

    Why Choose us?

    100% pest control guarantee

    We guarantee to rid your home or business from pests and offer all customers a 3-6 month warranty.

    Free Quotes & Advice

    Call, Email or Instant Message us and we'll give you honest advice on how to effectively solve your pest problems.

    100% Customer Satisfaction

    We're not happy unless you are! We promise to return for free if pests reappear during your warranty period.

    Residential & Commercial

    We specialise in the removal and prevention of pests for all types of properties and sizes.

    100% Money Back Guarantee

    If you're not totally satisfied with the results of our work then we promise to provide you with a full refund.

    Same Day Express Call Outs

    Get in touch and one of our qualified pest technicians can meet and treat on the very same day!

    Why our clients love us

    • These guys are the best, i use them every year for redbacks, white tail spiders and cockroaches as our neighbouring house are not well maintained. I would highly recommend Sydney... read more

      Zuzu Avatar Zuzu

      Very quick service for an urgent issue. very pleasant to deal with. turned up as they said and gave me a discount as my daughters birthday was coming up. more... read more

      Sam Y Avatar Sam Y

      Excellent, very professional company. Very organised and disciplined They have a dedicated pre-service chat/email team that looks into what bugs you have. And puts together a detailed... read more

      Paul L Avatar Paul L
    • We have used Sydney Pest Control services twice and Alan and team were professional, the products worked a treat and lasted more than 6 months. We had issues with rodents,... read more

      Ana Neves Avatar Ana Neves

      I spoke to Pierre on the phone to get a quote and recommendation on flea treatment. The recommendation given to me was genuine and really in the best interest of... read more

      Morena Koh Avatar Morena Koh

      I went with the general pest control service. John was amazing. He arrived early. He explained the treatment thoroughly before he started. After the treatment, he explained what would happen... read more

      Phuc Avatar Phuc
    • Excellent service: very friendly and capable staff who were very helpful. The company talks about ethical customer service (which is why I chose them) and they were true to their... read more

      Stephanie Croft Avatar Stephanie Croft

      Very efficient and professional service, from their office to the guy on the ground were efficient, on time, very helpful and went the extra mile to protect our home and... read more

      Kim Vu Avatar Kim Vu

      Adam was professional, knowledgeable and friendly. Generous with his time and with the poison. See you in a year!

      Andrew Path Avatar Andrew Path
    • I enquired about how to get rid of fruit flies in my apartment and the team were really responsive with advice that has helped a great deal. There was no... read more

      Jack Boulton Avatar Jack Boulton

      Excellent, very professional company. Very organised and disciplined They have a dedicated pre-service chat/email team that looks into what bugs you have. And puts together a detailed... read more

      Paul L Avatar Paul L

      Very impressed with Pest Control Sydney. As arranged, Alex arrived at 7am on the dot (maybe even a few minutes early). Not only was he super friendly, engaging and... read more

      Pat Khoo Avatar Pat Khoo