If you wonder do rolly pollies eat plants, we have the answer in this guide! Are you tired of dealing with pesky pill bugs in your vegetable garden? Pill bugs, also known as rolly pollies, roly-poly, or sow bugs, are a common sight in gardens, but that doesn’t mean they have to be welcome guests.
In this article, we’ll discuss whether or not these pesky bugs eat plants, what they eat and damage, and how you can naturally control these pests in your vegetable garden.
JUMP TO TOPIC
- Will Rolly Pollies Eat Plants?
- What Pill Bugs Eat?
- How Do You Prevent Pill Bugs From Eating Plants?
Will Rolly Pollies Eat Plants?
These bugs are attracted to dampness and usually thrive in moist environments. They feed on decaying plant matter, fungi, and other organic pest material, which can be detrimental to your vegetable garden. They can also spread plant diseases, which can be a major problem for your vegetable garden.
The roly-poly breathes through gills and has to live in moist environments, but they won’t survive being submerged in water! That’s exactly why they can cause damage to your plants. The bugs will have a go at your fruits and leaves and cause harm if not kept in check.
Pill bugs, also known as Armadillidiidae or rolly pollies, are small, segmented, crustacean-like creatures that can be found in a very wide variety of habitats, including gardens, fields, and forests.
These small bugs are usually gray or brown in color and have a hard exoskeleton. The most common type of pill bug is the Armadillidium Vulgare, which is distinguished by its oval body and seven pairs of legs.
What Pill Bugs Eat?
Pill bugs eat decaying plant matter, fungi, and other organic pest material. They’re especially fond of moist soil and will burrow into the soil to search for food. This can be detrimental to your vegetable garden, as these bugs eat the root systems of your plants and spread plant diseases.
Rollie pollies eat the leaves, stems, and roots of your plants, which can lead to stunted growth and even plant death.
You’re probably wondering how you can control these pests, and we’re here to help!
– Active Season for Eating Plants
Pill bugs and sow bugs are vampires for water and will remain in the damp ground during the day.
They only become active during nighttime when the temperature falls. They are springtime and summertime pests so you’ll be pest free during the cold winter months.
– Life Cycle
The life cycle of a pill bug begins with an egg. The eggs are laid in a moist environment such as a damp garden bed or leaf litter, and then they hatch into tiny nymphs. The pill bug nymphs go through several molts or life phases as they mature, becoming larger and darker in color with each molt. As the nymphs become adults, they develop a hard, shiny exoskeleton.
Adult pill bugs can live up to two years and can produce several generations of offspring in that time. These bugs have outstanding long lives. Pill bugs are nocturnal beings, and will be most active at night, but you can spot them moving in the daytime too, provided they aren’t disturbed by any predators. In the right conditions, rolly pollies can live up to two to even five years!
Pill bugs can eat your plants and cause damage to your garden in all of their life cycle stages, so make sure to take action immediately after diagnosing a pill bug problem.
Rollie pollies will also bring something good to your garden vegetation. Let’s see how they can be beneficial if kept in check. These bugs help the soil by boosting the decomposition process in your soil because they turn organic matter into the soil faster. This way, they are able to aid in plant growth!
The pill bugs will be an important element in your natural ecosystem, helping with your soil aeration. They will create space for air, water, and nutrients to penetrate your soil much faster and more efficiently.
These small creatures will remove metals from your soil. They do this by crystalizing toxic elements such as lead, cadmium, and arsenic and will turn them into spherical deposits in their own guts!
These crustaceans have the ability to remove heavy metals from your soil, so they are important for cleaning up pollutants from the soil, such as cadmium, arsenic, or lead.
How Do You Prevent Pill Bugs From Eating Plants?
You can prevent pill bugs from eating plants by using diatomaceous earth, setting up beer traps, overplanting, setting up citrus traps, removing what they want from your garden, removing dead plant material, and spraying them with the natural pesticide called neem oil.
Using natural pest control methods to get rid of pill bugs in your vegetable garden has several benefits. For one, it is a safe and effective way to control these pests without the use of harsh chemicals.
Additionally, natural pest control methods are often more cost-effective than traditional chemical-based methods. Finally, natural pest control methods are better for the environment as they don’t introduce any toxic chemicals into the ecosystem.
If you’re looking for an even more natural way to control pill bugs in your garden, there are several methods you can use. Here are the most effective natural pest control methods for pill bugs.
– Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth is a natural pest control option that can be utilized to get rid of pill bugs. It is a white powder made from the fossilized remains of microscopic organisms called diatoms.
When sprinkled around the perimeter of your garden, diatomaceous earth forms a barrier that bugs find difficult to cross. The sharp edges of the powder also cut the exoskeleton of the rollie bugs, which causes them to dehydrate and die.
– Beer Traps
If you’re looking for an even more effective way to get rid of these nasty bugs, you can try setting up beer traps. To do this, you’ll need to dig a shallow hole in the soil and fill it with beer. The beer attracts the pill bugs, who will fall into the hole and drown. You’ll need to empty and refill the traps regularly to keep them effective.
– Try Overplanting
Although this may sound like a madman’s idea, overplanting is actually quite effective! When planting crops, plant them closer together and en masse. A few plants will get attacked, but they will protect others from getting infected!
– Citrus Traps
If you’re dealing with a roly-poly infestation, you can cut fruits in half and place them in the infected area of your garden.
The bugs will naturally be drawn to fruits and you can rest assured that you’ll find plenty of them munching in the morning. A single piece of fruit can be used for several days in a row before it dries up.
– Don’t Give Them What They Want
These bugs prefer damp places and dark shelters to hide in. You can try and make this inaccessible for them by removing fallen fruits, leaves, and plant matter from the vegetable garden. Try not to overwater the garden as they thrive in moisture!
– Remove Dead Plant Material
Another natural pest control option is to remove any dead plant material from your garden. Pill bugs will feed on decaying plant matter, so removing it from your garden can help to reduce their population.
You can also evenly add a layer of mulch to your garden to discourage pill bugs from burrowing into the soil.
– Neem Oil
Neem oil is a type of natural insecticide that can be used to control pill bugs in your garden. It is obtained from the neem tree and has a strong, pungent smell that repels many types of insects, including pill bugs.
You can spray neem oil directly onto the leaves and stems of your plants or mix it with water and use it as a foliar spray.
– Beneficial Insects
A great way to naturally control pill bugs in your garden is to introduce beneficial insects. Ladybugs, lacewings, and other similar insects can help to keep bug populations in check. These beneficial insects will feed on rollie bugs and their eggs, reducing the number of bugs in your garden.
– Use Toilet Paper Tubes or Duct Tape
If you’re sick of losing seedlings to bugs, wrap plant stems in some duct tape. The seedlings and plants won’t suffer any damage from using the tape. You can also use toilet paper collars!
Wrap a small piece of duct tape with the glue side out around the stem of a plant. Bury one-half of the taped stem in the ground, while leaving some part of the tape above the ground where bugs can stick themselves. You should remove the tape as soon as the plant overgrows it to prevent suffocation.
If you’re going with the newspaper option, tear a couple of inch-long strips of newspaper and carefully wrap them around plant stems. As the plant grows, the paper will fall off. This method is somewhat less effective as a newspaper can dissolve with water and it’s not remotely as sticky as your duct tape.
Toilet paper tubes can be effective as well! You can slide the tube over seedlings and into the soil around them. It’s best to have the collar buried in the soil, to prevent the bugs from getting to the plant from below.
Sometimes this method will work wonders, but take note that the pill bugs can also climb over them with some success!
– Preventative Measures
In addition to using natural pest control methods, there are several effective preventative measures you can take to keep pill bugs out of your vegetable garden. First, you can make sure to keep your garden free of any dead plant material or debris.
This will reduce the number of food sources available to pill bugs and discourage them from coming into your garden.
You can also try planting pest-repelling plants, such as marigolds or garlic, around the perimeter of your garden. This will help to keep pill bugs away from your plants. Finally, you can try creating a barrier of diatomaceous earth around the perimeter of your garden.
This will help to prevent pill bugs from entering your garden and will also act as an effective pest control method.
Pill bugs can be a major problem for vegetable gardens, but with the right pest control methods, you can get rid of them for good.
Let us reiterate what we’ve gone through and what will keep these bugs away.
- Pill bugs are crustaceans and breathe through gills, and the search for precious water will make rollie pollies eat and dig themselves into plant material to stay alive. This leads to unsavory effects in your garden.
- Rolly pollies are actually beneficial to your garden, but if not kept in check their population may grow and they will attack your plants in search of water.
- To keep their numbers in check, there are numerous effective natural remedies such as beer traps, coffee grounds, neem oil, or even paper tubes and duct tape. For best results, you can use several methods at once.
- Once you notice their population has declined, you can remove the traps as you’d definitely want some of these bugs around!
With the right pest control methods and preventative measures, you can say goodbye to pill bugs and keep your vegetable garden thriving!