Sow Bugs are Eating My Strawberries!: Natural Pest Control for the Berry Patch

| 7/6/2016 6:29:00 PM

Sow Bugs On Apple 

As a child, I thought the common pill bug, Armadillidium vulgare, was cute, even fun. No teeth. No stinger. No creepy-crawly long legs. Perfect bug for a child, right? They do seem very docile. When disturbed, they either scatter like crazy or roll up in a tiny gray defensive ball. That is, if it is the actual pill bug and not the sow bug.

Pill Bugs vs Sow Bugs

Sow bugs are incapable of rolling into a ball. The child in me prefers the pill bug. The adult in me could care less which kind it is — I no longer find them cute or fun. Adult gardening has a way of changing one’s view of the world.

Sow bugs really are amazing and if the little buggers would leave my strawberries and tender new seedlings alone, I would not give them another thought. Did you know these little bugs are really not insects at all but crustaceans?

I kid you not, they are members of the subphylum Crustacea. (Subphylum is the rank below phylum in zoological taxonomy. Although I find it fascinating, not everyone shares my geekyness, so I will refrain from further elucidation lest I make this my first and last blog post).

Other members of this subphylum are crabs, shrimp, lobsters, krill, and even barnacles – all marine arthropods. Which explains why these guys are dependent upon a moist environment to breathe through their gill-like structures. However, if submerged in water they will drown (note to self).

5/29/2019 9:45:36 PM

Hi Susan, Thanks for your article. We just moved to the country and have a gorgeous strawberry patch that is being enjoyed by the bugs first! Wondering if Diatamaceous Earth would be ok to use since we have more of that than apples. And it's been 3 years since you wrote this, wondered if you had any updates. Thank you for your help

8/11/2016 11:33:58 PM

Hi Jacques! Thank you so very, very much for your kind words of support and taking time to comment. I am so happy you enjoy my posts and I can make you smile! Blessings, Susan

8/11/2016 8:45:56 AM

Hi Susan! I love reading your posts and blogs because not only are they informative but they put a smile on my face because of your humorous writing! Keep it going :)

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