Pillbugs in Tacoma
Image via Flickr byanimalisterra

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 type of pillbug that most Americans have to deal with is Armadillidium Vulgare or the common pillbug.

Two years is the average lifespan of a rollie pollie, 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 Tacoma and the suburbs of Northeast Tacoma, North End, and Ruston.

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