How to Get Rid of Rolly-Pollies

Rolly-pollies, also known as pill bugs, are small purplish-gray creatures that roll into a ball when they feel threatened. They are crustaceans, more closely related to lobsters and crabs than to insects. They are attracted to decaying vegetable matter, such as food in your trash and even the mulch around your home. Following a few steps for treating rolly-pollies helps get rid of them for good.

"Woodlouse sitting on moss, extreme close-up"
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Pill bug, close-up

Step 1

Cover the end of a vacuum cleaner hose attachment with a knee-high stocking. Secure the open end of the leg to the hose attachment with a rubber band. Vacuum up any rolly-pollies you see. The toe of the stocking keeps the bugs from slipping into the vacuum itself. Remove the stocking and tie the open end in a knot to trap the bugs. Discard them in an outdoor trash can.

Caulking window
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Man caulking around window frame

Seal all entry points into your home with plumber's caulk. Rolly-pollies enter your home through cracks in the foundation and walls during colder months, looking for a warm place to live. If the cracks are severe, contact a contractor to repair. Otherwise, squirt enough caulk into the holes to seal them. Allow the caulk to dry undisturbed.

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Woman rakes lawn outdoor

Rake all mulch and other plant-related material away from the walls of your home. Mulch and plant material should be a minimum of 6 inches from your house's foundation. This keeps rolly-pollies from getting close to the foundation and finding their way back in.

Leaky Hose
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Leaky hot water hose

Treat all leaks around the home. Look for leaking faucets inside and out. Contact a plumber to repair leaks that plumber's caulk will not repair. Rolly-pollies, since there are related to crustaceans, have gills. They need moisture to survive. Removing moisture from leaks helps discourage them from coming around.

Humus - Fertile Organic Soil
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Organic soil

Sprinkle a thin layer of diatomaceous earth around the exterior of your home. Diatomaceous earth, found at home improvement stores and garden supply centers, is safe and nontoxic to you and your family. The powder is made from the ground-up fossils of marine animals. When rolly-pollies come in contact with it, it dehydrates and eventually kills them.