Sowbugs, we see them every day and hardly give them a second thought.

These small armadillo like creatures are very similar to shrimp.  They even have gills and carry their eggs (as many as 100) in little pouches on their legs.

Sowbugs feed on decaying organic matter like grass clippings, rotting leaves and what we would otherwise call mulch. 

They are generally beneficial because what they consume eventually becomes topsoil.  They cause no structural damage to buildings but their presence in large numbers inside can be a nuisance and often are a sign of an underlying moisture problem.

The best way to control these critters is avoid creating favorable conditions for them near your home.  This can be accomplished by adopting a few simple practices.

Avoid storing firewood and other items against the outside of your home.

Do not allow grass or shrubs to grow against the foundation.

Keep grass clippings, leaf litter and other organic debris raked away from the foundation.
Trim under shrubs to allow air to dry the soil.

Avoid using bark mulch in plant beds against your home.  Rock or pea gravel dries more quickly.
If you mulch keep the pile away from the house.

Check door and window seals and keep them in good repair.

Door mats can hold moisture for long periods.  Using a mat with open construction that dries quickly will prevent large numbers of sowbugs from getting established right at the door.

A couple of activities can cause you to encounter sowbugs indoors where you may not have previously.

If you leave your home for extended periods don’t turn the heat all the way off.  The small amount of additional moisture can allow sowbugs to survive indoors.

Applications of fertilizer or pesticide to the yard can cause migration.

If you are still having trouble with sowbugs there is likely a moisture condition such as a plumbing leak or failed tub caulk/grout.  In any event, finding and eliminating the source of the water is critical.

If you have the misfortune of having a home near one of the marshy areas here it may be necessary to treat the exterior of your home to reduce their populations.

So there you have it.  Even though we live in a rain forest it is still necessary to keep things dry.

Shrimp cocktail anyone?

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