Actual Size: ¼ to ½”

Characteristics: Oval bodies that are usually dark or slate gray.

Legs: 14

Antennae: 2 pairs

Wings: No

Habitat: Mainly found in high-moisture areas like beneath mulch, leaf litter, or rocks.


  • Unlike sowbugs, pillbugs can roll up into a little ball. 
  • Can only survive a few days without ample moisture. 
  • Usually dies quickly when indoors.

Pillbugs in Anaheim

Pillbugs are quite unique because they are one of the few crustaceans that have adapted to living on land. You can find them all over the United States. Pillbugs and sowbugs look similar and are more closely related to shrimp and crayfish than to insects. They’re often called roly-polies because they can roll up into a tight ball when they feel threatened. You can easily spot them by their back, which consists of seven hard plates. Pillbugs need moisture to survive, so they won’t last indoors for more than a few days unless the conditions are very wet or damp.

Pillbug Habitat

Pillbugs love moisture and you’ll often see them outdoors, usually hanging out under mulch, rocks, or fallen leaves. They come out at night and need humid conditions during the day. You’ll usually find these crustaceans in damp soil, where they share the space with sowbugs, earthworms, and millipedes. At night, pillbugs might venture out and crawl around on sidewalks or patios. They can also become a bit of a bother if they invade your crawlspace or basement.

Pillbug Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Pillbugs are harmless to humans because they don’t bite, sting, or pose any threats. They also don’t make a mess by contaminating food or spreading diseases. Mostly, they’re just a nuisance, especially when they make their way inside. Although they prefer munching on delicate plant tissue, they can sometimes cause some damage to garden transplants and seedlings. Pillbugs usually sneak into buildings through door thresholds, especially homes with sliding glass doors on the ground level. So, if you see a pillbug indoors, it’s a sign that there’s a big group of them hanging out outside.

Have a lot of pillbugs on your property, or keep finding them indoors? Contact your local exterminators for help or advice.