Also known as "woodlice," sowbugs are often discovered living and feeding under pieces of damp, decaying wood. Closely related to pillbugs, these unusual pests aren't insects. They're land-dwelling crustaceans that even have gills.

Sowbugs grow about 1/4 to 1/2 inch long. Mottled browns and grays color their overlapping, armor-like scales. Like pillbugs, sowbugs have seven pairs of legs, but they also have two tail-like protrusions that pillbugs don't have. In addition, sowbugs don't roll up into "pills" the way pillbugs do.


Sowbugs usually seek out dead and decaying organic matter, but they sometimes feed on seedlings, small plants and ground-level garden fruits. True to their crustaceous origins, they need wet, damp areas for survival. During extended dry weather, they seek out moisture indoors.

If you suspect a sowbug problem, inspect areas where wood or damp leaf litter lies. Overturn decaying wood or rake up debris to quickly confirm your suspicion. Plants damaged by sowbugs show signs of chewing and scraping. Even so, the primary sign of sowbugs, outdoors or indoors, is sowbugs themselves.


Effective sowbug control starts with sealing any cracks and crevices in your home's foundation and taking steps to protect your home's perimeter. Amdro® brand products help you fight sowbugs effectively on both fronts:

  • Amdro Quick Kill® Outdoor Insect Killer, available in convenient ready-to-spray and concentrate formulas, works in minutes to kill sowbugs by contact. Then it keeps killing these pests for up to three months. Use this product to treat your home's foundation (up to a maximum height of 3 feet) as you treat your lawn, shrubs and flower gardens.
  • Amdro Quick Kill Home Perimeter Insect Killer Granules create a perimeter of protection around your home. The fast-working granules penetrate soil and mulch to kill sowbugs before they venture inside. The granules keep protecting against sowbug incursions for up to three months.
  • Amdro Quick Kill Lawn Insect Killer Granules II, designed for use with a standard lawn spreader, provides the perfect answer for large-scale sowbug control. After application, water treated areas lightly. The soil-penetrating formula kills sowbugs within 24 hours and keeps killing them for up to three months.


Sowbug survival depends on moist hiding places and decaying wood, leaves and plant litter. Keep the areas around your home and property free of wood and damp debris to encourage sowbugs to find another home.

Always read product labels and follow the instructions carefully.
Amdro and Amdro Quick Kill are registered trademarks of Central Garden & Pet Company.

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