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The sowbug is dark brown or gray and measures 16 mm. Although sowbugs are principally beneficial because they assist in the breakdown of decaying organic matter, they can be a threat to young plants. Indoors, they are more of a pest and will eventually die out.
The female sowbug carries approximately 40 eggs on her underside until they hatch and has an average of two broods per year. The young molt every two weeks until maturity at 20 weeks, when females become capable of reproduction. An infestation of sowbugs can number in the thousands. Sowbugs become inactive during cold months, but can live for up to two years. Since sowbugs prefer dampness, a moist spring will encourage a larger number outdoors.
Damage Caused by Sowbugs
Generally sowbugs come out from their harborage only at night – unless their shelter is disturbed. They feed on decomposing organic matter such as leaves and logs. They may also feed on young plants as well as the skin of cucumbers. They are harmless to people, but can damage plants and seedlings with their feeding.