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  • How do I stop roly poly bugs from eating my plants?

    Created by Britta Hubbard on

    I have a 10×10 greenhouse that is currently housing 100s of roly-poly bugs. They are eating my plants — everything! I have planted seeds a number of times, but these crazy Crustaceans are eating the sprouts before they even surface, and if anything is lucky enough to surface, the creatures are eating it down like a might pack of lumberjacks. HELP!!! I bought a Diatomaceous earth mixture, but as far as I can tell, it did not help much. I scattered it all about the dirt. Some died, but not many. I saw lots of “natural” insecticides, but these are Crustaceans – is there anything that will help me with this highly problematic infestation?

  • Author
  • #270740

    Eric Vinje

    Hello Britta!

    Diatomaceous earth is abrasive to crawling insects, like roly-polies, and can be used as a barrier to protect plants. However, it is important to reapply DE after watering, it becomes less effective when wet. Lightly coat the areas where these pests are found or may hide. Repeat treatment as necessary.

    Another product you can try is Monterey Ant Control. It’s proven to be effective against pests such as sow bugs and is a safe, organic solution to problems that arise from them. Simply scatter the bait granules on the soil around or near the plants to be protected. In greenhouses, scatter the bait in the pots of plants being damaged or around pots on greenhouse benches.

    Below is a link to our page on sow bugs which includes information from life cycle to identification to control with suggested products such as the ones mentioned above.


    Happy gardening!



    I’ve had a problem with them also, and I used Sluggo Plus to control them.



    *Reduce moisture or humidity level indoors. Use bathroom fans, stove hood vent fans, vent clothes dryers outside. Crawl spaces and attics need to be well ventilated.
    *Remove excess vegetation and debris around the exterior perimeter of the home. Make sure that leaf debris (leaves hold moisture and hide the bugs) is cleaned up from around the outside of your house. Keep rain gutters and downspouts clean and in good repair.
    *Instead of chemicals, use a caulking gun to close any cracks or crevices at or near ground level. Houses built on a concrete slab poured directly on the ground, can have more of a problem with sow bugs or pill bugs if there is no moisture barrier under the concrete.
    *Built-in planters are usually a bad idea for many reasons. Window box planters and planter boxes on decks tight against the house are good breeding places for many bugs.
    *Make sure all your doors (ground level, to the outside) are weather-stripped. If your garage is attached or integral to the house, make sure those doors are properly weather-stripped also.
    *Watch for obvious moisture problems in the garage and bottom level.
    *Keep soil levels well below structural wood around the home.
    Hope this helps!

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