What to do about sowbugs?

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I’m having a population explosion of sowbugs, pillbugs, whatever you call them. When watering I am seeing quite a few come to the top...in different plants, but scattered throughout many. Anything I can safely water with to kill them that won’t harm paphs, Phrags, phals and catts?
 

mrhappyrotter

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Pretty much any pyrethroid insecticide will work. As long as you follow the label directions, there's very little risk of harming your plants. You will need to treat multiple times, a couple weeks apart.
 

Ray

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Their presence is probably an indicator that a lot of repotting needs to be done, as they usually thrive in decomposing organic matter.
 
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Ray, I have repotted most all plants, but I have been using a living moss on top of quite a few, especially the paphs. Also, reputed over a 4 week or so period...Maybe the moss is the medium they are living in?
Mr. Happy Rotter, all pyrethroids I have found are labeled for a topical spray. Any specific manufacturer you can mention. Thanks for everyone’s input
 

mrhappyrotter

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Ray, I have repotted most all plants, but I have been using a living moss on top of quite a few, especially the paphs. Also, reputed over a 4 week or so period...Maybe the moss is the medium they are living in?
Mr. Happy Rotter, all pyrethroids I have found are labeled for a topical spray. Any specific manufacturer you can mention. Thanks for everyone’s input

I think anything with cypermethrin or permethrin will work. I use Bengal brand Esfenvalerate. These are all pretty safe around kids and pets and haven't given me any issues with any plants. They are not systemic but then a systemic product might not be particularly useful against sow bugs. I use it for mites and scale and water it into the mix to eliminate fungus gnats.
 

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I had a rather large infestation of sowbugs close to two decades ago. I used Tempo on them. They run for their lives and die within a minute or so. Low end of dosage should be fine, they're very sensitive to pyrethroids as has been mentioned. I never seen any phytotoxicity from Tempo or Talstar (the pyrethroids I've used) no matter how high the dosage, even with sensitive plants.
 
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It appears the sow bugs have considered the moss I have on the tops of many of my plants to be an excellent environment to grow and reproduce in... I have disposed of all of it. Probably how they got introduced also. I do want to add, that I believe the moss had a definite benefit for the paphs. There were some that had a moss growth on one side, these pots upon removal of the moss the roots were healthy looking growing on the surface. But still getting adequate moisture and whatever benefit comes from a moss mulch.
 

orcoholic

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You can buy a bag of lawn insecticide. Sprinkle some on top and water in. One bag is proably enough for a lifetime supply and won't break the bank.
 

xiphius

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I almost always have sow bugs in all of my pots (even immediately after repotting). I generally just ignore them as they are more of a nuisance than an actual problem. You can control them with pyrethroids, but why bother? They will probably come back later and this will just serve to help make the real pests more resistant when you actually need chemicals. Even if the bark is fresh and not decayed, they will generally stick around if you keep things wet enough. They love live moss. If you are seeing a huge population spike, then your bark is probably starting to break down, or there is possibly an abundance of fungal growth down in your pots. Just let them do their thing.

Probably the best non-chemical way to get rid of them is to just let your pots dry out more since they prefer damp environments.
 

cnycharles

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If you set a pot completely in water they’ll come to the top and you can scrape them off. They need air :) can always put something on top of media to keep it in and not floating away
 

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