There are many pests which are drawn to areas where moisture accumulates. Moisture allows many things to thrive; it is the basic ingredient for life. Besides the thousands of microscopic organisms, many insects and other creatures will readily live where it is damp. Among these creatures is the pillbug. This article will explain some basic biology of this isopod and explain how to treat local infestations.
PILL BUG BIOLOGY
Pill bugs are small, about 1/2″ to 3/4″ in length, gray in color and oval. They live under rocks, logs, mulch, wood chips and all around the home where it is damp, dark and moist. Generally you may see hundreds or thousands of them emerge when you attempt to do some gardening and begin to disturb the soil.
Though generally not a destructive pest, pill bugs will readily move under slabs, into doorways and window frames which accumulate moisture. This moisture may form due to leaks or condensation and with this moisture comes mold, mildew and algae – the basic food stuff of these pests.
Established colonies of pill bugs will move inside when moisture levels are too high or to seek relief from either cold or heat. It is when they migrate into living areas that people first notice just how bad of a problem they have.
The pill bug is unique in that it can roll into a round ball thus achieving a good defensive position. Pill bugs will bear young at least twice a year and carry them until the young are able to keep up with the rest of the colony. Though the young may leave mother from time to time, it is not uncommon for them to come back and allow her to bear their burden for as long as she can.
As food supplies dwindle, colonies will relocate and forage to adjacent areas that meet dietary needs. Most feeding will be done during the night and due to their behavior traits, many people refer to them as “water bugs”.
HOW TO CONTROL PILL BUGS
Controlling these isopods should be done in a two phase format. First, try to identify moisture problems. If you have a leaky window, roof or bad caulking, get it fixed. Any constant supply of water will allow mold and algae to grow as well as take away from the overall impact chemical treatments will have.
In effect, the moisture will allow the pest to be ever present – the ones you kill will quickly be replaced by new pill bugs seeking shelter and food. If the local conditions are OK but you have a lot of mulch, rock, pine straw, wood chips or other objects around the perimeter of the home, expect the activity to continue. But even as the moisture is reduced, the problem will most likely require some treatments to remedy it for good.
WHERE TO TREAT PILL BUG NESTS
First, you must focus on the outside of the home. In most cases, this is where they’ll be nesting. Apply MAXXTHOR GRANULES to all mulch beds, gardens and turf around the home. Maxxthor is slow to act as it leaches down into the ground where they’re nesting and feeding but treatments will last 30 days in season and 2 months per application in the winter.
Use 1-2 lbs on each side of the home applying it over a 10 foot band coming “out” from the foundation. This treated “zone” will be pest free since Maxxthor will control just about any common perimeter invader. Do this treatment once a month when they’re active; once every 2 months to make sure they don’t return.
BEST PILL BUG SPRAY
Next, spray the foundation and ground areas with MAXXTHOR EC. This concentrate is unique in that it will quickly kill and penetrate all cracks and gaps where pill bugs like to nest and hide. Mix .5 oz per gallon of water and plan on spraying 2-3 gallons around the homes on the foundation where pill bugs are active. Once the problem is gone, treat every 3 months to insure they don’t return.
Use a good PUMP SPRAYER to apply the Maxxthor.
When spraying, get at least 1 foot out from the home on top of the turf, soil or mulch and then up the foundation a good 3 feet.
Since mulch, siding and plants are where pill bugs like to live, your treatment needs to address these locations around the structure. Do this at least once a month. When local activity has ceased, you may be able to go longer in between treatments.
HOW TO TREAT PILL BUGS IN THE HOME
If you have pill bugs in the home, garage or basement, inside treatments will be necessary. We have two options for use inside.
TREAT CRACKS AND CREVICES WITH FS MP AEROSOL
For all points of entry like around doors, windows and baseboards, treat the cracks and gaps with FS MP AEROSOL. This aerosol comes with an injecting straw tube which allows you to inject the material into these gaps which is critical for solving the issue.
FS MP will kill pill bugs quickly since it’s both a contact killer and a flushing agent, it will chase them out of hidden spaces. And its naturally repellent meaning it will keep them from returning to these same areas.
USE BITHOR FOR LARGE HOMES OR BAD INFESTATIONS
BITHOR will be the better option if you have an extensive infestation that spans many rooms or has found its way into carpeting, under furniture, throughout a crawl space or basement where the aerosol is just not efficient to use.
Mix 1.5 oz of Bithor per gallon of water and expect to get 800 sq/ft of coverage per mixed gallon.
Bithor is odorless and once dry, will not pose a hazard to kids or pets. Just keep them out of the area you’re treating till it dries.
Bithor uses two actives; one that works quickly and is gone within a day or two the second one that remains for a few weeks will work as a “stealthy” active. This means the pillbugs won’t detect it and in turn, readily move over the treatment all the while picking up a lethal dose. This will lead to their demise in 1-2 days after they get exposed.
One treatment will usually solve any average problem and when combined with the FS MP, you should be able to eliminate them from the home for good.
PILLBUG INFESTATION SUMMARY
Pillbugs can become a problem in and around the home. Though they don’t cause damage, they can be a pest. Use Maxxthor Granules and Maxxthor spray around the homes exterior outside to control them before they get inside.
Once inside the home, FS MP and/or Bithor may be needed to eliminate the activity.
Give us a call if you need further help. Our toll free is 1-800-877-7290 and we’re open Monday through Thursday, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. On Friday, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM and on Saturday, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time).
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