Actual Size: ¼ to ½”

Characteristics: Oval bodies that are dark or slate gray.

Legs: Yes – 14

Antennae: Yes

Wings: No

Habitat: Frequently found outdoors in high-moisture areas. Mainly hides in places like compost or beneath flower pots, mulch, and stones.


  • Unlike pillbugs, sowbugs are not capable of rolling into a ball. 
  • Most active during the spring, which is when they reproduce. 
  • They don’t typically survive long indoors due to the lack of moisture.

Sowbugs in Anaheim

Sowbugs and pillbugs can be found all across the United States, and because they look quite similar, people sometimes use their names interchangeably. You might know pillbugs as roly-polies because they have this neat ability to roll up into a tight ball when they feel threatened. However, sowbugs are a bit different – they have tail-like appendages sticking out from their rear, so they can’t roll up for protection. However, both species resemble crustaceans with seven hard plates on their back. They also both need lots of moisture to survive, so they won’t stick around indoors for more than a few days unless the conditions are super wet or damp.

Sowbug Habitat

Sowbugs prefer damp environments, and you’ll often spot them outdoors, usually beneath mulch, rocks, or piles of leaves. These critters are most active at night and will only come out in the day if the weather is extremely humid. They’re like nature’s cleanup crew, scavenging and munching on organic matter. Sometimes, they venture out at night and crawl around on sidewalks, building foundations, or patios. If there’s a large population outdoors, some sowbugs may also wander indoors and invade crawl spaces or damp basements.

Sowbug Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Sowbugs aren’t considered a danger because they don’t sting, cause property damage, or spread diseases to people and animals. They’re mostly just a nuisance, especially if they wind up inside or start eating the roots of plants in your garden. Sowbugs usually enter homes or buildings through door thresholds or large sliding glass doors. These insects primarily stay at the ground-level of man-made structures, and they will die quickly without enough moisture. 

Struggling with a sowbug problem on your property? We recommend seeking advice from your local pest control company to keep your space pest-free*.