Actual Size:  ¼ “ to ½”

Characteristics: Oval; dark to slate gray.

Legs: Yes – 14

Antennae: Yes

Wings: No

Habitat: Thrive in high moisture areas and are common under mulch, compost, boards, stones, flower pots, and other items resting on damp ground.


  • Sowbugs lack the ability to roll into a ball for protection.
  • They seek out and thrive in damp environments.
  • Sowbugs are active at night, feeding on decaying matter.

Sowbugs in Georgia

Sowbugs, along with pillbugs, are widespread across the United States, and they are frequently confused due to their similar appearances. Pillbugs, commonly referred to as roly-polies, can curl into a ball when they feel threatened, a defense mechanism sowbugs lack due to their distinct tail-like structures at their rear. These structures inhibit their ability to roll up. Sowbugs are identifiable by their segmented backs, consisting of several rigid plates. Their survival is heavily dependent on moist environments, limiting their indoor presence to short periods unless conditions are particularly damp.

Sowbug Habitat

Sowbugs flourish in moist outdoor environments, such as under mulch, compost piles, stones, and other debris that maintains moisture. They venture out at night, and while they are mainly a nuisance, they can sometimes invade indoor spaces like crawl spaces and damp basements, attracted by moisture.

Sowbug Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

While sowbugs do not pose a direct threat to humans—they don’t bite or sting—they can become a nuisance if they invade indoor spaces. Their presence indoors usually indicates a significant outdoor population and potentially excessive moisture around the building’s foundation. Sowbugs can damage plant roots, making them a concern for gardeners.

If you notice an issue with sowbugs around your property, it’s advisable to contact a pest control professional to assess the situation and recommend a course of action to mitigate the problem effectively.