Pillbugs in Knoxville
Image via Flickr by cricketsblog

Pillbugs are part of a scientific family called Armadillidiidae and technically a subset of woodlice. As the scientific name implies, these insects are known for having a hard shell of linked plates, flexible enough for them to roll up for full protection, like a tiny armadillo. Pillbugs are often called rollie pollies, potato bugs, or doodlebugs. The common pill bug that most Americans have to deal with is Armadillidium Vulgare or the common pillbug.

The average lifespan of a rollie pollie is about two years, during which the adult body will molt its shell many times. Pillbugs primarily survive by eating decomposing matter from animals, plants, old wood fibers, feces, or even dead insects. However, they can also eat live plants, which makes them a problem for crops, lawns, or gardens if they get overpopulated. Pillbugs are common in Knoxville and the suburbs of Downtown Knoxville, Old City, and Old Sevier.

 

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