Pillbugs in Salt Lake City
Image via Flickr byMichel Vuijlsteke

Pill bugs are part of a scientific family called Armadillidiidae and technically a subset of woodlice. The common pill bug that most Americans have to deal with is Armadillidium Vulgare or the common pill bug. 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. Pill bugs are often called rollie pollies, potato bugs, or doodlebugs and are common in Salt Lake City and the suburbs of East Bench, Wasatch Hollow, and Bonneville Hills.

The average lifespan of a rollie pollie is about two years, during which the adult body will molt its shell many times. Pill bugs 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.

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