Pill bugs, also known as rollie-pollies, are fascinating little creatures. But they can also be quite a destructive force in your garden.
In small numbers, they can actually help, breaking down organic matter into the soil, like an army of tiny composters. But, in large numbers, they will feed on tender roots, leaves, and vegetables — spelling doom for many of the edible crops you are trying to cultivate.
Luckily, one TikToker has a great trick for keeping rollie-pollies at bay.
@gardeningaddiction Replying to @Kay Dubb Organic pest control is one of the most challenging things about organic gardening. There’s protecting your seedlings from rollie pollies… and then there’s removal, a whole other monster! I am working daily to keep my cucumbers alive, they already got my beans before they even broke the surfact! No more direct sowing for me in this bed until I fix the problem… #gardento#gardentokn#gardeningpe#gardenpestsp#organicpestcontrolg#organicgardeninga#gardenhackp#beertrap ♬ Cena Engraçada e Inusitada – HarmonicoHCO
In a popular post, Gardener Eryn (@gardeningaddiction) wrote, “Organic pest control is one of the most challenging things about organic gardening. There’s protecting your seedlings from rollie-pollies … and then there’s removal, a whole other monster!”
“Organic pest control is one of the most challenging things about organic gardening,” Eryn added in her caption.
Eryn’s secret to removing the destructive insects comes with a surprising insight about the rollie-pollies. It seems that these little creatures are not so different from many of us — they love beer.
“I noticed that they like beer,” Eryn explains. “So I started using that, just pouring it on random things and they’re really attracted to it. Once they’re covered in the bait, then I slam it off into the bucket. You can also do beer traps. I just didn’t want to do it because I didn’t want to kill the ladybugs or anything beneficial. If I do the napkins I can make sure I’m only getting the rollie-pollies.”
How it’s helping
The fermentation process used to make beer creates sugars and alcohol. Insects are attracted to the sugars and to the strong smell of the beer, as sugar indicates a high nutritional value to many bugs.
Gardening your own vegetables can be a win for both you and the environment, as it enhances your local ecosystem while decreasing your reliance on the often very wasteful food industry. However, controlling the insect population responsibly — without the use of poisonous pesticides and chemicals — can be a challenge, as Eryn alludes to.
What everyone’s saying
Eryn’s followers were eager to try out the hack for themselves.
“My roly polies are eating my pumpkins,” said one.
“Darn now I gotta go get some beer, thank you for this,” wrote another.
Join our free newsletter for easy tips to save more, waste less, and help yourself while helping the planet.