Actual Size: ¼ to ½”

Characteristics: Oval-shaped and dark gray in color.

Legs: Yes – 14

Antennae: Yes

Wings: No

Habitat: Thrives in high-moisture environments. Often found beneath mulch, in compost, under stones, and other sheltered areas like flowerpots.


  • Though they look similar to pill bugs, sowbugs cannot roll up.
  • Primarily consumes decaying plants and other organic matter.
  • Won’t survive long without access to plenty of moisture.

Sowbugs in Memphis TN Metro Area

Sowbugs and pillbugs are commonly found across the United States, and their names are sometimes used interchangeably due to their similar appearance. Pillbugs, also known as roly-polies, have the ability to roll up into a tight ball when disturbed or threatened. On the other hand, sowbugs possess tail-like appendages that extend from the rear of their bodies, preventing them from rolling up for protection. One distinguishing feature of both is their segmented back, comprised of several hard individual plates. As sowbugs rely on moisture, they typically do not survive indoors for more than a few days unless there are consistently moist or damp conditions present.

Sowbug Habitat

Sowbugs flourish in damp surroundings and can be discovered outdoors beneath mulch, fallen foliage, and rocks. Sowbugs are creatures of the night and necessitate moist conditions throughout the day. They are scavengers by nature and primarily subsist on organic substances. When darkness falls, they may venture away from their native habitats and wander across sidewalks, patios, and foundations. Sowbugs can transform into bothersome pests as they frequently infiltrate crawl spaces, damp basements, and the ground-level first floors of buildings.

Sowbug Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Sowbugs do not possess the ability to bite or sting and are incapable of causing harm to household belongings. They primarily serve as a bothersome pest, particularly when they venture indoors. While they pose no threat to humans, sowbugs can inflict damage to plant roots when feeding. Typically, sowbugs enter buildings through door thresholds, especially in residences with ground-level sliding glass doors. The presence of a sowbug within the home generally indicates a substantial population residing outdoors. If you suspect a sowbug problem, it is advisable to reach out to your local pest control company for assistance.