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Rollie Pollies!!!!!

Posted by dragon9206 6 (My Page) on
Sun, Jun 17, 07 at 18:54

Hello all

So the rollie pollies (pill bugs) that are not supposed to be eating anything but dead stuff seem to have a problem identifying what stuff is DEAD!!

Me and my aunt have been working on her garden all spring, and she has more pill bugs than I have ever seen in all my life. Completely infested. (Kind of scary really, its like a bad horror movie) They are not just eating her seedlings, but they are eating the lettuce, the brussels sprouts, the pepper plants, the zucchini leaves, the zucchinis, they are eating the squash leaves, and the squashes!!! (squash gourds? - whatever) We are finding them two and three feet up off the ground eating the plants. In fact the only plants that I cant tell that they are eating, are the tomatoes.
They are eating everything.
We want the garden to be completely organic. (save for the miracle grow) So we dont want to use pesticides.
What have you all done to get rid of these things? Does anything actually work effectively?

Thanks everyone, I appreciate whatever help you can give us!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Rollie Pollies!!!!!

  • Posted by lelia Northern Cal (My Page) on
    Sun, Jun 17, 07 at 19:51

I found an organic product called Sluggo, which didn't get rid of them all, but I noticed that no more seedlings are being mowed down. You need to reapply it pretty often, though, but once the seedlings are large enough, they'll survive the pill bugs.

RE: Rollie Pollies!!!!!

Remember pill bugs are not bugs. they are not insects. they are antropods so the normal poisons might not work.

they usually do not eat fresh plants. but they do some if they are hungry and nothing else is available. Have you done some google work to find a solution.

Have you tried the Organic forums here on GW.

I found this quote on the internet using google.

QUESTION: My garden is becoming over run by "pill bugs." They even ate the last seeds I planted. What can I do to get rid of them. I prefer to use organic methods, if there are any that work.

ANSWER: Simply search PLANTanswers for the answer and you will find:

QUESTION: I'm not sure of the name. When I was a kid we called them doodle bugs. They are grey, armor plated insects with at least six legs. When threatened, they roll into a tight ball. They hid under my mulch and ate my young okra plants, bush beans and even my periwinkles. Do you have any non-chemical suggestions?

ANSWER: You are describing what are called pillbugs, rollie-pollies, sow bugs and, yes, maybe even doodle bugs. They are night feeders and feed on organic matter. They usually do not damage plants unless it is young, tender and close to the ground. Garden centers sell pill bug bait which they attack and devour. When consumed, the bait containing some sort of insecticide (whether it is organic in origin or not!) kills them. You can make your own bait using an organic insecticide in mushed-up bananas or any decaying food material. Some people put large lids or boards in the garden area and pour hot water on the pill bugs after they have congregated. You can co-exist by protecting young seedlings with a band of insecticidal dust which allows maturing of plants before devouring by bugs. The more organic matter you have, the more rollie pollies you will have. Some gardeners recommend ducks or guineas.

RE: Rollie Pollies!!!!!

I think that the more you read, the more you will find out that most folks are of the opinion that these bugs do indeed eat live plants and seedlings. I would argue that there is only a small minority that believe they are totally harmless. I found rollie pollie babies munching on my radishes just this don't be fooled by some esoteric, 400+ page paper that someone had to write to graduate with some degree.....then someone else culled from some college archive and then figured this was fact. The reality is that these wood lice type bugs do indeed eat live plants from your garden.

Koreyk, that is good information that you have posted....I have noted that if you can get your seedlings beyond a certain stage, they tend to leave them alone......but if you direct-sow, it can be challenging if your garden has a bunch of those "rollie-pollie" bugs around....

RE: Rollie Pollies!!!!!

Just heard this morning on the radio about a new product called Sluggo plus (or something to that effect). I have heard that Sluggo works really well on slugs, but specifically the "plus" is supposed to kill pill bugs as well. I heard about it on a local organic gardening show. The host is ultra organic (if that makes sense), so I would feel comfortable using it in my garden. Sorry to hear that pillbugs are a problem for you. I have seen them all over my yard and garden, but they don't seem to be eating any of my stuff yet. If they decided to, with the amount I have seen, they could devour the whole garden over night!

Good Luck! Jacci

RE: Rollie Pollies!!!!!

John, I am with you on this and at the risk of being attacked again, I do know for a fact that they will crawl over plenty of decaying plant material (mulch), climb up on the plants and eat strawberries, green or ripe, that were not already damaged. I have just about given up on raising any strawberries because of it, some things would be hard to treat for them without getting it on the fruit, because of the way that the plants grow.
Bill P.

RE: Rollie Pollies!!!!!

There is an organic pesticide called Orange Guard made from orange oil that is supposed to kill rollie pollies, it is at

I don't know if it works or not work but they say it works on rollie pollies maybe worth a try.

RE: Rollie Pollies!!!!!

I'm just as surprised as anyone - I've only seen 2 "rollies" in my strawberries this year.

It's a bit unconventional but - I've acquired a lot of small lizards in my yard, probably because of a long concrete block wall just erected next door - also lots of concrete - driveways, walks, etc., in my own. They love to eat bugs. Honestly - this is the most bug-free summer that I've had - even ants!

One other word, however, many of these bugs come from the compost - and you know how we all "tout" the benefits of compost here. But I found a way to help adding them to my veggie gardens - just sift the compost before adding it and allow the finished stuff to sit awhile. You will find the bugs come to the top - place an overturned can on top of the siftings where the bugs will gather. Then dispose of them.

I have two chickens - so add my siftings - with pillbugs intact - to the hens. They love the protein. When the hens finish with that compost, it is great stuff - all manured, as well.

It really is working! I can't use pesticides - as I also have a hive of bees - they are doing well here in Ca., no sign of colony collapse as yet.

Just my 2 c's.


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