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Differences between Pill Bugs and Sow Bugs

Differences between Pill Bugs and Sow Bugs

Both pill bugs and sow bugs are crustaceans, but there are some distinct differences between the two. Pill bugs, which are more commonly known as roly policies, have a clearly segmented body with seven pairs of legs. Sow bugs, on the other hand, have an un-segmented body and only five pairs of legs. Additionally, sow bugs can’t roll into a ball as pillbugs can; when they feel threatened, they curl up into a C-shape instead. While both pill bugs and sow bugs are basically harmless to humans, they can play an important role in the environment by breaking down dead plant matter. So next time you see one of these little guys crawling around, take a closer look and learn more about what makes them unique!

What are Pill Bugs?

Pill Bugs are also known as woodlice and are commonly found in gardens or around the home. This little creepy crawlies are often mistaken for insects but are actually crustaceans related to crabs and lobsters. Pill Bugs are dark gray or black in color and have a hard shell-like exoskeleton. They range in size from about 1/4 of an inch to 1/2 of an inch long.

Pill Bugs are able to roll into a tight ball when disturbed or threatened, which is how they got their nickname “rollie pollies.” Pill Bugs are scavengers and will eat just about anything, including dead leaves, fungi, and manure. While they are not harmful to humans, Pill Bugs can be a nuisance if they invade your home in large numbers. If you have a Pill Bug problem, the best way to get rid of them is to vacuum them up and dispose of them outside.

What are Sow Bugs?

  • Sow bugs, also known as woodlice, are small crustaceans that live in damp environments. Sow bugs have a hard exoskeleton and are dark in color. They vary in size, but most sow bugs are about 1/2 inch long. Sow bugs are common around the world and can be found in North America, Europe, and Australia.
  • Sow bugs are scavengers and feed on decomposing plant matter. Sow bugs breathe through gills and must live in moist conditions to survive. Sow bugs typically live outdoors in damp areas such as under rocks or logs.
  • However, they can also become pests when they enter homes and other buildings in search of food or moisture. Sow bugs are harmless to humans and animals but can damage crops or stored food items. Sowbugs can be controlled by eliminating their food source, sealing cracks and crevices to prevent them from entering buildings, and using chemicals such as insecticides.

Differences between Pill Bugs and Sow Bugs

Pill Bugs and Sow Bugs are both small, dark-colored insects that often live in damp environments. Pill Bugs are also known as rollie-pollies because they can roll into a tight ball when threatened. Sow Bugs, on the other hand, cannot roll up into a ball and are generally flatter than Pill Bugs. Both Pill Bugs and Sow Bugs have seven pairs of legs and two long antennae. Pill Bugs are slightly larger than Sow Bugs and can reach up to ½ an inch in length. Pill Bugs also have gills, which allow them to breathe underwater for short periods of time. Sow Bugs do not have gills and therefore cannot survive submerged in water. Both Pill Bugs and Sow Bugs are harmless to humans and actually provide a valuable service by eating decaying leaves and other dead plants.


Differences between Pill Bugs and Sow Bugs. Although both pill bugs and sow bugs are terrestrial crustaceans, there are a few key differences between the two species. For example, while pill bugs can roll into a ball for protection, sow bugs cannot; and whereas sow bugs feed mainly on plant matter, pill bugs will eat dead plants or animals as well.

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