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I am not too familiar with the insect world, but can someone tell me what the half inch long crawling bug (looks like a tiny worm and curls up into a defensive circle when touched) is that is commonly found on our side walks these days? More importantly, does anyone know how to rid a basement of them?

Many thanks.


-- William M. Fish (w.fish@att.net), July 05, 2001


If they have a hard, black shell, and roll up into a ball, They are Potato Bugs, also known as roly-polies.

-- Josh Paiva (joshpaiva@bconvergent.net), July 05, 2001.

Remind me not to look up bugs on the net while I'm eating lunch. Ichhh!

Could they be millipedes? To see, click here and check out the drawings.

There's also a picture of the "pill bug" (AKA "roly poly") there. It also curls, but does not look like a worm, and I have only seen it in my garden, not on the sidewalks. There is a discussion on "pill bugs" on another greenspun forum--"Countryside"--under the category "Gardening (Pests/Diseases)" and the question "Pill Bugs": Click here.

There's some information on millipedes (including control measures) at the following two sites:

Click here for Ohio State University site. Click here for UC Davis site.

Now, this is interesting. Millipedes are apparently related to lobsters, crayfish and shrimp! Hmmmm.

-- Mary N. Macdonald (mnmacd@his.com), July 05, 2001.

I'm fairly confident that they are roly-polies.

-- Josh Paiva (JoshPaiva@bConvergent.NET), July 05, 2001.

To rid your basement of all things creepy crawley, get yourself over to Lowes and get a couple of insect foggers. They are safe, easy to use, and harmless to kids and pets if used properly.

I just set off two in my basement to get rid of an infestation of little bitty spiders. Works fine.

The directions say two hours is plenty of time to evacuate the room. We left for six and there was no odor. The spiders have expired. Several years ago we used the foggers on crickets. That worked fine also. When you are through, use a shop vac to clean up the remains.

Of course if you don't like to use chemicals, you can always vacuum them up live, one at a time.

-- Jim Hubbard (jim@halseyrains.com), July 06, 2001.

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