I think we can all remember a time when we were kids and we found these curious little creatures in the garden, under rocks and logs, or simply strolling through the grass. They are often called rollie pollies, pillbugs, or woodlouse. Rollie pollies are characterized by their ability to roll up into a tight ball when they feel threatened.

Learn About Our Rollie Pollie Friends:

  • Rollie pollies are not insects, although people refer to them as bugs. This 1/2-inch long, oval creature is actually a crustacean and is a relative of lobsters and crabs!
  • They have a head, thorax, and abdomen with seven pairs of legs, while insects only have three pairs of legs.
  • While rollie pollies may look like something left behind from prehistoric times, they are perfectly harmless. They don’t bite, sting, or carry diseases!
  • These grey-colored creatures can be found in many dark and moist environments feeding on decaying matter.

Why Rollie Pollies Help Your Soil:

  • Rollie pollies help the soil by increasing the speed of decomposition, turning the organic matter into the soil faster, and ultimately aiding plant growth.
  • Rollie pollies are an important element of your soil’s natural ecosystem, helping the soil to aerate. This allows air, water, and nutrients to spread throughout your soil.
  • These little guys safely remove metals from the soil. Rollie pollies do this by crystallizing toxins such as lead, cadmium, and arsenic in their guts which then turn into spherical deposits in their midguts. Gross!

Releasing thousands of pill bugs can actually clean up large areas of toxic soil safely while protecting the water table. If rollie pollies can clean up such horrible byproducts of manufacturing, think about what they are doing to help your garden soil! That’s an “ah-ha!” moment, right? It’s pretty fascinating that such little creatures can give you clean, healthy soil. 

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