Pillbugs (more commonly, “rollie-pollies”) and sowbugs (also known as a “woodlouse”) are not actually insects – they are two types of land-dwelling crustaceans. It can be difficult to distinguish between the two, and for practical purposes, it’s not often necessary, but pillbugs are darker, with shinier “shells”, and they can roll into protective balls. Sowbugs have a lighter coloring, their shell is rougher, and they cannot roll into a ball.
Both these creatures are scavengers. They feed on decaying matter, usually dead plants or debris. They can only survive in moist environments outside and will rarely venture inside. Sometimes, they will dwell in damp basements, pipes or drain areas, but there isn’t much food to sustain them for very long. For the most part, they are harmless, but can be unsightly in large numbers. They cannot harm humans.
To help prevent their populations from growing too much, minimize moisture and clutter by cleaning up around the affected areas. Seal cracks in buildings, doors and windows, replace door sweeps and caulk any crevices in the doorways.