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Q: I would like to know if it is possible that the sow bugs/pill bugs are the ones eating my small transplants? If this is the case, what can I do about it? I would like to use a non-toxic control if at all possible as I have pets and a lot of birds etc. in my yard.
Sowbugs sound like the likely culprits. According to GardenWise contributor Carolyn Herriot, sowbugs flourish in moist conditions, particularly around mulch and compost, because they feed on decaying leaf litter and vegetable matter. Conway Lum, GardenWise’s plant problem and pest expert, suggests using a layer of clear plastic on top of mulching or compost. The plastic will heat up the soil and the increased temperature will discourage hibernating sowbugs. Conway also says that sowbugs rarely attack healthy plants, so it’s important to keep plants healthy. For a non-toxic solution, Conway suggests diatomaceous earth (containing silicon dioxide), a natural pesticide. Sprinkle it on the soil around the plants you want to protect. It will dehydrate sowbugs but won’t harm your pets. Be careful with it, though, as it’s quite drying.
Sowbugs by Conway LumBugs chewing pea plants by Conway LumGarden Pests by Carolyn Herriot