Sowbugs and pillbugs are not insects, they are crustaceans. Both are slow-moving and are closely related to crayfish, lobsters and shrimps.
They are oval to slightly elongated with a flattened body and are up to 3/4” long. Their color with vary from brownish to slate grey. They have seven pairs of legs and plates of overlapping armor. They have well developed eyes and tail-like appendages.
Pillbugs are also oval to slightly elongated and are up to 3/4” long. They have well developed eyes with seven pairs of legs. They too have overlapping armor and range in color from brownish to grey.
The big difference is that pillbugs will roll up into a ball when disturbed giving them their nickname, roly-polies.
Both crustaceans mate throughout the year. The females carry the eggs in a brood pouch on the underside of her body. There can be between 10 to 200 in the pouch.
Once the young hatch they will stay in the brood pouch for six to eight weeks until they can fend for themselves.
These creatures live outside in moist areas, feeding on decaying organic matter. They are a nuisance problem and when they enter homes they will soon die without adequate moisture.
When they become a problem they are easily control with an exterior treatment.
For long term control either an every other month or quarterly treatment is needed.