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"Roly Poly" bugs #470677 - Ask Extension

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"Roly Poly" bugs #470677

Asked July 15, 2018, 8:20 PM EDT

I hope you know what I mean by my title - it's the little bugs that roll into a ball when disturbed or you try to brush them away. They are a charcoal gray in color & don't fly - they are on/in the soil, on the sidewalks & will collect under things like pots on the patio. They are about the size of my finger tip if you are looking at the end of the finger head on. Several questions - 1. What is the proper name for them? 2. I was told by someone that they carry a fungus or virus that can infect the soil? What is the threat to vegetable & flower gardens? 3. How does one get rid of them or keep them under control? I have hundreds of them collect on the edge of my raised beds every morning and many more in the soil in the raised beds. I would consider it an infestation - not just a few but hundreds & hundreds. 4. Are there safe organic methods of getting rid of them? How effective are these methods? Since the worst of what I have seen in my yard are in my vegetable garden I would hesitate to use any toxic chemicals.

Denver County Colorado

Expert Response

The official name for roly-polys is Pillbug (Armadillium vulgare). The are mostly scavengers, don't do much in the way of harm to your garden, and they don't carry a fungus or a virus. Here's some more information:
  
http://www.coloradodahlias.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/CDS_Culture.pdf

http://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/insects/millipedes-centipedes-and-sowbugs-5-552/
Gardening Help Replied July 18, 2018, 9:59 AM EDT

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