Sowbugs / Rolly polys Eating my Strawberries

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

Those darn pillbugs are chewing holes in my strawberries before I can get them picked. They even start on them before they get ripe enough to pick.

What do you organic gardeners suggest for this problem ? I need your help !

I'd like to posion them somehow, but don't want to posion us too.

Shenandoah Valley, VA(Zone 6b)

You could sprinkle or dust diatomaceous earth at the base of the plants. These bugs don't usually go for the living plants but I know that this happens sometimes and it's a real pain when it does. In my garden they help break down organic matter like my mulches of straw, woodchips and grass clippings, so to me they're a beneficial.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Are you sure that's who's eating the strawberries? I think they primarily eat decomposing/decaying stuff, occasionally they'll eat plants but I really suspect that it's something else unless you've actually caught them in the act of eating a berry. Could it be slugs/snails? I remember when I was a kid we had a strawberry patch and that was the primary pest. If you think that's the case, there have been numerous threads about controlling slugs/snails so I would search for one of those.

Rome, GA(Zone 7b)

Are the berries mulched or just laying on the ground? Is the ground wet? I usually only find the sowbugs in wet areas underneath the mulch. Maybe mulch them with dry straw or hay?

Dripping Springs, TX(Zone 8b)

Where I live pill bugs are a major problem. in my opinion when your organic gardening is working there will be an explosion of pill bugs as they live on decomposing vegatation (compost) as their population explodes they will eat anything they can. after trying many things I am convinced lizards and toads are the answer. I have pill bugs everywhere thousands of them except in my green house I discovered a large texas toad in my green house as I emptied it out this year. I am now going to provide habitation for it in my flower beds and move it.maybe I am crazy but this yesr I will be a toad farmer. I even want to get more frogs even if I have to feed them later on in the year. nothing else has worked what do I have to lose. if any one else has any info on this subject please let me know. thanks

Josephine, Arlington, TX(Zone 8a)

I had a beautiful row of strawberries once and the sow bugs were eating parts of the fruit, I knew because I saw them even inside the holes they made in the strawberries.
I took some wood ashes and sprinkled them on both sides of the row.
No more sow bugs, and great strawberries.

Alamogordo, NM(Zone 7b)

I am having this same problem and am certain it is the pill bugs. I got some eucalyptus mulch at Lowe's. It said it repels insects, so I layered it under part of my strawberries. It seemed to help. Not 100% but those fared better than the ones without the mulch.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Sluggo Plus will take care of the pillbugs, snails, and slugs. It's an organic product.

San Diego & San Fran, CA(Zone 10a)

To prevent mine from being eaten in San Francisco a few years back, I took a clear plastic container like you would get potato salad in - I cut it into a couple or rings (removing the bottom) and put these around the plant to keep the straberries and leaves off the ground. It worked pretty good.


Orange Park, FL

I don't know much about organic problem solvers. If it takes chemicals, I will use them. I, too, have strawberry plants that have been devoured by pill bugs. I know it ain't much fun to see half of your crop eaten by nasty little bugs.
I searched around for a solution. And found a product made by Ortho. It's called "Home Defense Max". Found it at Home Depot. Don;t recall how much I paid for it, probably $5 or less for a rather large container of tiny pelletized granules.
Anyway, I sprinkled twice the recommended coverage around my strawberry plants about 3 months ago. Worked like a charm. I lost very, very few berries to the pill bugs. But I did see lots of pill bugs in the strawberry patch with their tiny feet pointed to the sky.
three months later, another application of granules is now necessary. Even though the berry output has dropped off considerably at this time of the season, the pill bugs are still a problem.
Even though my plants are in raised beds, it doesn't keep the little critters out. Another milder application of the granules is now in order. It is apparently a surface contact poison that does not affect the berries. Hope this helps.

Alamogordo, NM(Zone 7b)

I am sure that Home Defense Max would kill them, but it would not be something that should be sprayed on food items. I don't have a label to read, but would bet it is only for non-food areas?

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

It's definitely not organic, and I went on their website and it talks about this "invisible barrier" that works all season to keep bugs out. That means it leaves some chemical residue behind that sticks around for a long time, definitely not something I would want to put near anything I was planning to eat.

Greensboro, AL

Toads and frogs as organic farmers:

Here's a link to Bonitin's thread on Belgian toads.

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