Whether you know it as a roly-poly, armadillo bug, potato bug, or Armadillidium vulgare, the pillbug is a non-insect arthropod that gets its name from the habit of rolling into a ball when threatened or disturbed. Pillbugs and sowbugs have the distinction of being the only crustaceans that can survive on land. Although these two terrestrial crustaceans are often confused, sowbugs cannot roll into a ball when threatened like pillbugs can.  

These creatures boast a hard, armored exoskeleton like other crustaceans, but it’s not as tough and rigid as that of crabs and lobsters. Pillbugs are nocturnal scavengers that feed on dead and decaying matter. Like other crustaceans, these isopods acquire oxygen through gills located on the underside of their body. 

Pillbugs don’t bite, sting, transmit diseases or damage anything but are considered nuisance pests when they infest your home in large numbers. These non-insect arthropods are native to Europe and were introduced to the US through the lumber trade. 

How to Identify Pillbugs

The pillbugs’ most outstanding feature is rolling into a ball when threatened. Even sowbugs, the closest creatures to pillbugs, can’t roll into a ball. Additionally, they have an oval-shaped body and can adapt to various environments. Other identifiable features include:

Size: Pillbugs measure between ¼ and 5/8ths of an inch long.

Color: They range from dark brown to black or gray

Bodily Features: Pillbugs have flat, oval-shaped bodies covered by layers of protective exoskeletons. They have 7 pairs of legs and 2 pairs of antennae. They get their oxygen through gills on the underside of their bodies. Unlike most crustaceans that have eyes on stalks, pillbugs do not. 

Habitat: Pillbugs thrive in damp locations, like under rocks, leaves, mulch, compost, woodpiles, flowerpots, and anything else that is resting on damp ground. They require moisture to survive and do not last long inside homes unless there are very moist conditions inside.

Diet: These critters mostly feed on decaying plant matter but will occasionally feed on wood fibers and living plants.

Are Pillbugs Dangerous?

As mentioned earlier, pillbugs don’t bite, sting, spread diseases, or destroy anything. Although they can feed on living plants, they’re not classified as destructive pests. They help in decomposition which can help improve the quality of the soil. However, these creatures can become a nuisance when they crawl into your home in large numbers. 

How to Prevent and Control Pillbugs

Armadillidium vulgare may be harmless, but you may not like it when they camp in dark and moist areas inside your house, such as the basement or under the sink. If you want to prevent these creatures from finding solace in your home, follow these tips:

  • Keep woodpiles off the ground or far away from the house.
  • Reduce mulch in flowerbeds to 2 inches maximum.
  • Dispose of mowed grass and fallen leaves.
  • Ensure that gutters drain water away from the house.
  • Make sure that your home has adequate ventilation.

If your efforts prove futile, you can turn to professional pest control to lend you a helping hand. With years of experience, sophisticated tools, and qualified expertise, the pros at Domain Pest Control will design a unique program to deal with your pillbug situation!

Read Our Latest Blogs

Cockroaches: Facts vs Myths

Cockroaches: Facts vs Myths Cockroaches are notorious creatures renowned for their tendency to rapidly infest homes, cause health problems, and spark havoc and fear. Because of their terrible reputation, most people are understandably disgusted by these pesky creatures.  Despite the negative press, cockroaches are actually quite useful creatures with an important environmental role, which many

Read More »

Differences in Termites and Ants

Differences in Termites and Ants Although termites and ants are two distinct species, they also share some similarities that make it challenging for most people to differentiate between them. Both pests are notoriously destructive creatures you wouldn’t want in your home. Often mistaken for each other are carpenter ants and termites, mostly due to both

Read More »


Mice A mouse is one of the most widespread rodents in many parts of the world. Mice are nocturnal creatures, meaning they play and forage at night and spend the day sleeping. These pesky creatures are active all year round and thus can wreak havoc in your home or business throughout the year.   Mice

Read More »
Scroll to Top

Current Service

Fill out the form below and our team will get back to you shortly, or skip the wait and give us a call


302 Hidatsa St.

Buda, TX 78610

Covered Pests


Fire ant
Red ant
Acrobat ant
Sugar/house ant


Brown recluse
Black widow
Orb weaver
Wolf spider

"Common" roaches

Oriental roach
Smokey brown roach
American roach
Brown banded roach

Rodents (extra add on)

Join Our Newsletter

Signing up for our email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts, updates, and pest control tips