Habits & Diet:
Prefer moist locations; found under objects on damp ground; mostly nocturnal; sometimes found in basements and ground levels of structures.
Sowbugs and pillbugs are major pests in gardens, nurseries and glasshouses along the Coast and other areas of high rainfall or fog drip. They feed on decayed vegetable matter and tender young plant growth, attacking young plants of all kinds, including strawberries, vegetables, forage crops and even mushrooms. They are nocturnal and are most active during the rainy season, or in damp foggy conditions.
Below: a Sow Bug besides a 10 ¢ coin.
Both sowbugs and pill bugs 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-colored. 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.
Armadillidium, the pillbug, is actually an introduced pest species from Europe. Controlling these creatures is difficult and generally involves eliminating damp, dark places where they can shelter, and the use of pesticides.