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Melisa from Mableton Ga writes

What is the real name for a roly polie? Do they hurt anything?

Seen some roly poliss in my potato garden. Was wondering if they were eating them. They didn't appear to be doing anything.


Pillbugs are commonly refered to as "roly polies." Pillbugs are for the most part concidered beneficial for gardens. Pillbugs are scavengers and feed mainly on decaying organic matter. They occasionally feed on young plants but the damage is rarely significant unless they infest in large numbers. Pillbugs thrive only in areas of high moisture, and tend to remain hidden under mulch, foliage, or objects during the day. Clearing out debris and decaying vegetation will help keep population numbers low. If Pillbugs are causing damage to your potatoes then there are insecticides labeled for edible gardens that would work great to protect your potatoes. One of our most popular product to control Pillbugs in gardens is our Bonide Eight Insect Control Vegetable, Fruit and Flower - Concentrate. It is labeled for Pillbugs and one application will last up to 4 weeks. You can apply the Bonide Eight Insect Control Vegetable, Fruit and Flower - Concentrate up to 7 days before harvest. Be sure to read over the product label for specific use and mixing instructions. If you would like to view a list of other edible garden products, please visit our Edible Garden Product page for other suitable products. Be sure to read the product label if you chose an alternate product, to ensure the product is labeled for Pillbugs and is safe to use on Potatoes.

Answer last updated on: 08/08/2013

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