Wednesday, December 8, 2010

This Carpenter is a Sow Bug!

The Sow Bug is a small humble little guy.  They are common in gardens though tend to stay out of sight.  Sow Bugs seem skilled at getting into your house as well. This is especially true if you have an older home or one without a finished concrete basement.  In Newfoundland they are commonly called wood lice, carpenters and even boat builders. 

Sow Bugs can be found gathered at near rotting wood so are considered pests by some.  However most of the time they are content to remain in their natural environment where they feed on rotting plants.  In many damp outdoor spaces they will be present under rocks and other objects.  When they show up in your house it tends to be a solitary mission and they are very lost. Just a convenient oasis when the outside weather turns cold.

Sow Bugs are crustaceans and have lots of ocean-based cousins.  They are about the size of your fingernail and are black or dark brown in colour. Usually they are not much longer than your fingernail.  Sow Bugs have 7 pairs of legs and are quite safe to handle.  Kids are intrigued by their slow movement and safe appearance.  

Next time your see one inside - pause and pick it up by holding each side gently.  It's probably the least squirmy bug you'll encounter. 


  1. We have these in our basement apartment! I'm from Nova Scotia so I always called them sowbugs too, or potato bugs... I think I was confused about that one though, cause I googled potato bugs and they are not nearly as cute as these little guys.

    Those two little things on their bum, they can't pinch you? What are they for?

  2. P.S. I had no idea they were crustaceans, that's pretty cool! My sister said they looked like tiny horseshoe crabs, I'll have to tell her they're related haha!

  3. Hi Laura,
    Thanks so much for visiting. Those two little things are called uropods, an extra appendage on the body. Sowbugs can't pinch you. They are very safe to handle. :)

    I'm moved to a new blog:

    Please visit there for lots of new posts.


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