Know the sowbugs
and exterminate them
Know the beetles and exterminate them
Beetles are terrestrial crustaceans that infest our homes in search of damp places. But they do not harm human health or the health of our pets.
The beetle feeds on the young shoots of our indoor crops, our greenhouses and our gardens. If an isolated individual does not eat much, an invasion of beetles causes unsuspected damage, hence the need to exterminate them.
But what do we recognize this crustacean? What is its life cycle? How can you prevent it from invading you? And if he has already done so, what means can be used to exterminate him?
Here are Animal Alert’s professional answers to these questions!
|Nom français||Cloportes, Porcellions|
|Nom anglais||Woodlice, Woodlouse|
Physical description of this terrestrial crustacean
The beetle, a terrestrial crustacean, has:
- An oval body, 12 mm to 19 mm long, dull in colour: blackish, brownish or greyish
- An exoskeleton made up of plates
- A head with two pairs of antennae. One of the pairs, called antennules, is very short and is only visible on the ventral side of the beetle. The other is very long. In the majority of species, the eyes are composed and often undeveloped.
- Oral parts, covered at rest by the maxillipeds,a pair of chest appendages
- 7 pairs of similar pairs called pereiopods
- Pseudo-tracheas that allow him to breathe. They are located on the abdomen or pleon
- Depending on the species, zero, two or five pairs of lungs. They look like whitish spots and are visible to the naked eye on the ventral part of the beetle.
English speakers distinguish sowbugs from pillbugs. The former differ from the latter by two appendages located at the end of the abdomen and resembling small tails. The latter can roll into a ball.
Lifecycle of the beetles
The female lays her eggs in the marsupium,an incubator pouch lying under her chest.
It is in this same pouch that young develop after hatching. The length of their stay varies depending on the species. The majority of them take about 40 days.
Once out of the marsupium, the young beetles have a whitish color. They will not take on their characteristic hue (blackish, brownish or greyish) until a few weeks later.
If they look like adults, young beetles have only six pairs of legs. The last one will appear at the first moult. This occurs within 24 hours of going out into the open.
Then, the young beetle will begin a succession of moults. Two will be a week apart. But until he’s 20 weeks old, all the others will be two weeks apart. Then they will become more irregular.
In the majority of species, it takes only one year for the beetle to reach sexual maturity. In summer, those in temperate regions have one to two litters.
He lives two or three years, sometimes four. Its life cycle varies greatly by species.
What type of environment does the woodlice adapt to?
In the wild, the beetle lives in forests and fields, near marshes or by the sea. He must find the moisture essential to his survival, the desiccation being fatal.
If it enters a house, it will be found under the bark of trees and firewoods, under stones, litter, pieces of wood, basements, and under various objects on wet ground.
Beetles absorb the water they need to survive through their food or by using their mouthpieces. But they can also use their uropods, appendages located near the anus. In case of water overload, it is these same uropods that will help them to reject it.
In the face of predators, beetles behave in varying behaviours depending on the species. Some hide in a shelter throughout the day or flee as quickly as possible. Others cling firmly to a surface, others fall to the ground and kill themselves. Some release repellents. Finally, some of these species roll into an airtight ball, offering no catch to the aggressor.
The woodlice certainly carries a parasitic worm, the ascarid Dispharynx sp. But it doesn’t make humans sick. It only affects birds such as the grouse when it feeds on it.
What does he eat?
The beetle feeds on fungi, barks, mosses, decomposing algae. It can also consume dead animals or other decomposing animal matter.
But if this crustacean does not cause any damage to human health, that of our pets or the structures of our homes, it nevertheless feeds on the roots of young shoots, or fruits and vegetables found on moist soil; and it was on this occasion that a invasion of beetles causes damage in our gardens, greenhouses, and indoor crops.
9 tips to prevent a blister infestation
- Drain the floor of your home and its surroundings to remove excess moisture. This will create an environment that is unfavourable to the proliferation of these crustaceans.
- Eliminate shelters and remove their food sources. To do this, remove everything that is in direct contact with the soil: dead leaves, plants, logs, fallen fruit, cut grass, etc.
- Seal cracks and openings in the structure of buildings.
- Carefully inspect the firewoods before bringing them into the house. The beetles can hide under the bark.
- Avoid allowing water to build up near the foundation or in the garage.
- Water the plants in your gardens in the morning rather than in the evening. The plants would have had time to dry before nightfall.
- For your mulch, use coarse materials. They will prevent the surface soil from getting wet and will allow water to pass through. Instead of these mulch, you can use black plastic. Because it creates intense heat on the surface, which repels the blisters.
- Properly ventilate the soil in your garden. Install trellis for climbing plants and discard old decaying leaves.
- Put diatom soil around the plants. This insecticide will prevent beetles from getting close to it. But follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on the label to the letter.
If the presence of woodlice is important to, it means that there is a large colony of these bibites around your building; and in this case, it is better to contact an exterminator on the island of Montreal.
Elimination of blisters: the means of the professional exterminator
To eliminate blisters, the exterminator has several solutions:
- It can drain the floor of your home, ventilate the basement and other wet areas, and use a dehumidifier if necessary. Its objective: to remove excess moisture, desiccation being fatal to the blister,
- It can cause beetles to leave by spraying anti-cloporte repellents such as neem extract-based insect oil,
- It can use chemical insecticides in compliance with environmental regulations.
But beware, there are many amateurs in this trade. Know how to recognize a truly professional exterminator. The latter can be recognized by:
- His permit from the Quebec Ministry of Sustainable Development with the words CD5: Extermination
- Its certified professional technicians in extermination
- His method of work: first, he quickly arrives at the scene of the invasion. He then identifies the sources, measures the importance, and suggests the appropriate treatment.
After treatment, it informs you about the precautions to be taken to avoid the intrusion of woodlice in the future.
- It uses unidentified vehicles and remains discreet in all interventions.
- It offers you a written guarantee on the effectiveness of its treatment against the installation of woodlice in your home
- He knows how to choose appropriate insecticides and makes them a safe use. Rest assured: if he has a permit from the Quebec Ministry of Sustainable Development, he pays attention to this aspect.
And you, have the beetles ever invaded your building? How did you get rid of it? Tell us in the comments below.
Beetles are rather common critters in Quebec. Oval in shape and grey in colour, they are 10 to 20 mm long on average.
Their bodies are divided into 3 parts and they have 14 legs.
The beetle belongs to the crustacean family and not to the family of insects, as most people think. They breathe with gills, which they must keep moist at all times.
They need a wetland to live.
Development and habits
A female blister litters of about 25 larvae. Following fertilization, she will keep her cubs in a pouch under her belly for 40 days.
An adult bum lives one to two years. We find them all year round, but especially between May and September. In winter, depending on the humidity level (which must be high), they are less active. They move mostly at night.
Beetles are not always harmful. They mostly live outside. They are even our allies in our gardens, since they only eat plants that have died and do not attack healthy wood. However, when they are in our homes, they are signs of high humidity.