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image of sowbug

General Facts

Sowbugs, also known as isopods, are tiny arthropods often mistaken for insects. The pests are actually more closely related to lobsters and shrimp and are the only crustaceans able to live on land. Sowbugs pose no physical threats to people or pets but are considered nuisances when found in large numbers inside homes.

Appearance / Identification

picture of a sowbug
The overall appearance of sowbugs is often compared to that of armadillos because they are both dark grey or slate in colour and have an armoured look about them. However, adult sowbugs are only about 1.5 centimetres long.

Image of a sowbug


Sowbugs prefer to live under piles of rocks, leaves, and other organic debris. The pests require moist, humid conditions in order to survive. Without moisture, the lifespan of sowbugs significantly decreases.


The diet of sowbugs consists mainly of decaying matter. This includes leaves, grass, animal and insect remains, and dirt.

Life Cycle / Reproduction

Female sowbugs carry their eggs in underside pouches for roughly 21 days. Once they’ve hatched, the pests go through 15 stages of development before reaching full adulthood. In ideal conditions, adult sowbugs live for approximately a year.

Problems Caused by Sowbugs

Since sowbugs need moisture to survive, they congregate in basements, under leaky sinks, and in laundry rooms. The pests gather in large numbers, which tends to alarm residents.

Detection / Signs of Infestation

Sowbugs sightings are the only clear indication of an infestation.

Prevention Tips

In order to reduce the possibility of sowbug infestations, homeowners should clear rock piles and other unnecessary debris that may attract the pests to the yard. Additionally, sealing cracks and crevices in building exteriors and replacing broken window and door screens limits their ability to get inside. Finally, making sure homes are properly humidified and insulated discourages large populations of sowbugs from congregating.

Control / Removal

In order to avoid misapplication and any exposure associated with DIY pesticide applications, individuals should contact the experts at Orkin Canada when faced with infestations of sowbugs. Our trained and certified pest control specialists can safely and effectively remove the pests using the latest tactics and technologies.