Pill Bug/Slater

Pill Bug/Slater

Scientific Name: Armadillidium vulgare

How to identify a Pill Bug/Slater

Although there are a number of difference species which vary in colour and size, they all have a similar appearance – a small armoured bug (not an insect), grey / brown in colour with 7 body segments and 7 pairs of legs.

Young slaters look very similar to adult slaters on hatching from the eggs, except they only have 6 body segments / 6 pairs of legs.

Where are bill bug/slater commonly found?

They normally live in the garden and are a beneficial insects helping with the re-cycling of dead plant material.  However they have been known to come inside homes and sheds when there are damp and dark areas and a food sources such as cardboard boxes.

Why are pill bug/slater considered a pest?

Pill Bugs/Slaters are considered a pest when they start chewing through cardboard boxes and paper materials in your home, garage or shed.

What is the biology and lifecycle of bill bug/slater?

The female pillbug carries the eggs in a pouch under her body. The number of eggs can be between two and 200, and they will hatch within two to seven weeks. They remain in the pouch up to 2 months after hatching. Development to adults occurs in about a year and they breed mainly in the spring. They may live up to 3 years. Up to three broods may be produced annually.

Management Tips for Pill Bug/Slater


  • Slaters are easily killed with a direct spray of insecticides either with an aerosol or ready to use pump pack.

  • Preventing the entry of slaters is best achieved by carrying out a perimeter spray with an insecticide (such as a ready to use pump pack), focusing on good coverage at ground level and around potential entry points.


  • As slaters feeding on mulch and decaying vegetation, keep garden beds and mulch away from the perimeter of the house

  • If you do have a garden bed next to the house, use a non-plant based mulch (such as pebbles) and minimise watering (as slaters like moisture)

  • Make sure all cracks and crevices around the edge of the house are sealed to prevent the entry of slaters and other unwanted pests.


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