Neem oil is an extract from the neem tree. It has many uses for both plants and animals. It’s one of the most potent insecticides you could use on your plants. Many people believe in organic gardening; neem oil is a perfect insecticide since it doesn’t have major negative impacts on the environment. Neem oil means that once you coat your plants with it, they are quite impenetrable.
Rollie polis or pill bugs are a kind of pest that you may find on your plants. In the article today, we’ll look at pill bugs and find the many ways you can tackle them if they appear in your garden.
What are Pill Bugs?
Pill Bugs are crustaceans that exist on the land. There are terrestrial and can impact plants that you have in your garden. These rolled-up bugs can create a nuisance in plants if there are too many.
Pill bugs are quite harmless if you think about it. These bugs will not impact your garden if there are only one or two. They are also not harmful to animals, so you don’t have to worry about them creating an issue for your pets or you. These are exceptionally common in vegetable patches because they like the humid and comfortable environment they provide.
Pill bugs prefer being close to the ground so that they can feed on the rotting vegetation close to the ground.
Should You Get Rid of Pill Bugs?
Pill bugs are different from some of the other pests you may encounter in your gardening journey because they aren’t actively trying to harm your vegetable patch. However, the circumstances of your garden will strongly indicate whether or not you should get rid of pill bugs.
These bugs are extremely common to the point that you had played them in some way, shape, or from when you were young. Thus, for the most part, you know that pill bugs will not create a lot of danger to you.
To know whether you must get rid of them, there are certain aspects that you must pay attention to:
- The population of pill bugs
- The lifecycle of pill bugs
- The state of your garden
Once you know all these factors, you can decide if you should get rid of pill bugs in your vegetable patch.
When is it Time to Rid the Garden of Pill Bugs?
With bugs like rollie pollies, most gardeners have difficulty deciding whether to bring the big guns in. No one wants to harm a species unless they’re causing your garden harm, and that’s noble. We must thus know the right time to get rid of these bugs to ensure we don’t waste time on harmless creatures. Here are some signs to rid your garden of pill bugs:
When They are Crowding the Garden
If you feel that the rollie pollies are just everywhere in the garden, then there’s a chance they will start feeding on healthy plants and leaves too. It only makes sense that there will be competition for resources when the population of pill bugs increases. Dead material on the ground may no longer be enough, and pill bugs will turn their attention to the healthy matter of your garden,
When There are Many Adult Pill Bugs
All bugs have a life cycle. In pill bugs, the lifecycle is divided into three main stages: the egg, hatch, and adult. The adult stage is the longest and is when pill bugs consume the most food. Thus, if you see a lot of pill-bug eggs in your garden, that does not cause immediate concern, but many adult pill bugs crawling all over your vegetation is something you must take care of.
With eggs or in the hatching stage, the pill bugs’ mother is in charge of their nutrition, so they’re unlikely to feed on your vegetables. Just be aware that these pill bugs are fine in limited amounts, but the more they are, the likelihood of an issue increases.
When The State of your Garden is Declining
If your garden is already declining, then it only makes sense for you to remove the pill bugs immediately. However, if you feel like the pill bugs are adding more chaos to your garden, it’s time to get rid of them.
Using Neem Oil for Pill Bugs
Since we know that pill bugs mostly live in dying/rotting vegetation, you may wonder how to use neem oil for control. Neem oil has azadirachtin, which on ingestion, can theoretically cause hormonal and physical changes in pill bugs that may limit their growth. However, there needs to be more research on the effect of neem oil on pill bugs. Many believe that neem oil can only be effective if the pill bugs become destructive and start eating plants and vegetables.
Most gardeners don’t want to use neem oil on pill bugs because these insects are beneficial. Only sometimes will they accidentally puncture the stem or leaf in plants. This puncture then becomes an active site for bacteria and fungi to attack.
How are Pill Bugs Beneficial?
Most experts suggest you don’t spend too much time ridding yourself of pill bugs, as they bring a lot of value to your garden. These bugs are detritivores, meaning they feed on dead plant and animal materials, which makes for great compost. Having a good amount of them in your garden can improve overall growth.
Furthermore, even their droppings are mineral-rich and thus can make your soil even more fertile. However, you must ensure that they have enough food to eat, so if you want a good relationship with them, you can add more organic material to your garden.
If you want to kill pill bugs, then neem oil isn’t a great way to do so. When considering killing pill bugs, you may want to understand that you may be withholding nutrients from your garden, as pill bugs are also extremely beneficial. They only go rogue sometimes, and even then, neem oil is only a partial solution. However, theoretically, neem oil could prevent pill bugs from eating your vegetables and leaves. But you must practice caution before you proceed.